Table setting with brand tableware

I’ve been slowly amassing a decent collection of branded tableware, most of which is Angelic Pretty. The novelty items are so charming and a perfect addition to any lolita’s home. I dream of one day hosting an informal tea party from the comfort of my own abode, but for now our home is too small and lacks a dining room.

angelic pretty and emily temple cute plates and dishes

My grandmother used to collect fine china tea cups and saucers which is where I think I got the itch to start this collection. This is definitely not what I would use for my everyday dishes, rather something for special occasions and celebrations. Not really sure what the table will look like given these novelties are all over the place in terms of color, design and size. Then again, the idea of a eclectic mix-n-match table appeals to me. (more…)

Decora, neon and monsters… oh my

There are 2 ways to experience the Monster Cafe in Harajuku. During lunchtime on a weekday we pretty much had the place to ourselves. The night crowd, based on other posts I have seen, is another story altogether. On previous trips we focused on more traditional Japanese food adventures. But this last trip we squeezed in a couple themed restaurants. While the food itself is nothing to write home about, the experience is. Sebastian doesn’t let you down when it comes to being fully immersed in his colorful world when you set foot in the Monster Cafe. You are truly transported to another realm of existence.

the carousel dance party at monster cafe in harajuku

We dined in a booth between the Bar area and the Mel-Tea Room. Its hard to pick a favorite space as they are all so colorful and unique. I liked that I had a dripping ice cream cone above me and could see the lip wall in the background. We don’t eat meat, only seafood, so ordered the few choices the menu had. Some shrimp, french fries and the sushi roll. Like I said, nothing fantastic but simple food. Everything was served with color palettes of dips which was adorable

monster cafe lunch with view of mell-tea room

Looking back, I was originally drawn to decora before I fell head-over-heels into lolita. That would be thanks to Fruits magazine and an online search for alternative uses for traditional kimono that somehow spiraled into alternative Japanese street fashion. I am grateful for the detour. My sewing was so blah back then, there was no spark, no muse. Now, I am not about to start jumping genres on you, but I do like to mix things up and play with elements of different street styles. So here is my homage to Monster Cafe and Sebastian Masuda. (more…)

Time to Hibernate – Living Room Makeover

Back in March we started a mission to purge our house of all Ikea furniture. Ikea has served us well for many years but this relationship is no longer healthy. Its time to adult full time. The older I get the more I want to be surrounded with nicer pieces that can last the test of time. Add to that I am a total homebody who is perfectly content not leave my little nest for days on end. It was time to slowly invest a little every month towards creating the home of our dreams. We might still be renters but that doesn’t mean we can’t have nice things.

goodbye ikea and hello restoration hardware sofa


Project Complete: Sakura Mochi Cookie Sticker

Just in the nick of time. These little lovelies made it to my post box the day before our flight for Anime Matsuri. So apparently not just my sewing but my other endeavors also seem to come down to the wire before big events. I swear I am not a procrastinator :)

have yourself a sakura mochi cookie - sticker that is

final sticker from printers proof

If you’re at Anime Matsuri this weekend and want a sticker come and find me. Looks like my line up will be:


Project Kickoff: Sakura Mochi Iced Cookie Stickers

This will be a little unusual compared to my normal posts. Anime Matsuri is just a handful of days away and RuffleCon isn’t all that far off. I have been fretting over making business cards to hand out but it just didn’t feel right. I wanted something that more appropriately reflects my personality and style. Rather last minute it came to me – stickers! But now what to do?!?! Enter Elance. I have used their service for other work projects and the time felt right for this personal effort. It will also be a good first step before a few other projects that I have in mind. So to those looking at the job posting – Good Luck.

the sticker design concept and specs

inspiration found in sakura mochi and iced sugar cookies

inspired by the sweets illustrations of Angelic Pretty

Emily Temple cute sweet prints

Super excited to see how this turns out. Stay tuned!!

Travel Log: San Fran Golden Gate Park Conservatory of Flowers

July at last came to a close and so did the frenetic business travel itinerary that I’ve had. The last stop on my journey was San Francisco. After three previous short stays, this trip I feel was the first time I could really come to know the soul of the city and appreciate its many facets. My better half joined me and we made it a work-cation, meaning after all the meetings for work concluded we hit the town at night as well as squeezed in leisurely Saturday of fun. One of the absolute high points of our visit was the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park.

san francisco travel log 2014

tropical plants galore inside this victorian conservatory

Its simply incredible how many plants permeate the space. You walk into this explosion of green and it transports you to another time and place. I was blown away by how well maintained all the plants are. You can’t help but brush up against many of them, which made me nervous about causing them harm. Yet despite it being a tourist attraction and the human proximity the plants are robust, healthy and in harmony with their environment.

exotic orchids in san francisco golden gate park

If you get the chance to visit I highly recommend it. I also suggest you wear layers. The conservatory is located in the Golden Gate Park so while you pick up a crisp breeze outside, once inside it is a tropical paradise – a very moist, humid and hot paradise. So much for straightening my hair that morning.

tropical plants orchids turtles amazing conservatory

Even the exterior is incredible with beds of marigolds and other punchy flowers making bold statements on the front lawn. We learned it is an excellent place to lounge or picnic on a warm sunny day.

adi taking it all in outside on the beautiful lawn

The cherry one piece dress I made was perfect for the occasion. I was so comfy all day running around the city and even in the heat of the garden. For some reason this summer I am absolutely addicted to Grasshoper loafers which are beyond comfortable for walking around or being on your feet all day. Luckily found a pair in a bright cherry color to match my coordinate.

otome kei cherry cutsew one piece san fran


Wizard’s Duel on Platform 9 3/4

My inner 12 year old kicked in on the last night of the London trip and lucky for me my colleague from St. Louis was a good sport and willing to queue to have a photo at Platform 9 3/4 in Kings Cross Station. We each had the obligatory pushing the trolly thru the wall shot but mixed it up in the end and starting goofing off and dueling. Perhaps I should have worn Slytherin colors – he he he.

my wizard duel on platform nine and three quarters

Also spent some time in the little shop. They did a great job with the decorations and made you feel like you have transported out of the Muggle world. Even if you don’t buy anything the displays and vignettes are really well done. They have something for all price ranges from just a simple paper tickets to Hogwarts, Gryffindor jumpers and scarfs, and on the higher end wands, time turners…

harry potter logo

harry potter platform 934 shop clothing wands

I had pretty much blown my budget for the month already so only picked up a couple of metal badges. Still had a great time browsing and snapping photos which the shop staff had no issues with.

hogwarts express trunk hedwig ticket

platform 9 3/4 ticket to hogwarts

Travel Log: London Tower Bridge

london travel log 2014

There is never enough time to really take in the sights and sounds when traveling on business. That didn’t stop me this past week from making the most of meetings in London. Our hotel was tucked nicely between the Shard and Tower Bridge in Central London. Perfect for taking a stroll along the River Thames before and after work. As it turns out, Tower Bridge just celebrated its 120th birthday on 30 June. So to celebrate this Victorian gem’s special day hope you don’t mind my photo tribute from every angle I could manage.

london tower bridge 120th birthday

heraldry on tower bridge

london tower bridge selfie

tower bridge gothic gargoyle victorian design

london tower bridge at night

I’ve always had a thing for Gothic and Victorian Gothic architecture as it would seam did architect Horace Jonesand John Wolfe Barry back in 1884. Turrets, gargoyles, heraldry, lancet arches, uh, I seriously want my own castle!! But what is a princess these days to do. He he he.


Travel Log: Dubai {Part 2}

dubai travel log 2014

The absolute highlight of my recent trip to Dubai was an evening safari. This included “dune bashing,” getting to say hello face-to-face with the locals (camels,) and enjoying a traditional BBQ and meal under the stars in a small Bedouin camp. There are many commercial versions of this amazing adventure; our small party was fortunate to enjoy a more intimate, private version.

dubai dessert camelsWhile our host reduced the pressure in the 4wd, critical to gain more traction on the sand, my crew admired the happy tenants of a dessert camel farm. One extremely friendly fellow popped her head right over the fence interested in checking us out as much as we wanted to her. She was super sweet and gentle. It was pretty magical. But this was the calm before the storm. Immediately following was an exhilarating, adrenaline pumping, ride across the dessert safari sahara dunesWe paused briefly between the adventure to bring our heart rate back down and to take in the incredible beauty of the dessert. Photos just can’t do justice to the majesty of the sand, the light and shadows, and the way the landscape is constantly reinventing itself.

dubai dessert safari sunsetMy colleagues and I enjoyed watching the sun set over the dunes while our host set up camp. I am happy to say we were so absorbed from that point on that once the sun went down so did our cameras and phones. We were able to disconnect from our always plugged in lives and enjoy the company of each other, good conversation, and a fantastic meal of traditional mezze and for my buddies what was quickly claimed as the best BBQ lamb ever.

Travel Log: Dubai {Part 1}

dubai travel log 2014

This past week was a Work Perk. A rare and wonderful opportunity to travel to Dubai for meetings with our local digital team. Was very lucky to squeeze in some outstanding memories of the city and build bonds with my team mates. The hospitality and kindness of my colleagues was very touching. We do so much work over email and the phone that you lose the sense of who the real person is on the other end. Trips like this are invaluable for getting to know each other, uncovering each of our rich personalities, and coming home with stories to reminisce over as time passes.

The Architecture

I was shocked with the amount of construction. The entire city is so new that it is hard to believe. And you can’t blink your eyes without seeing new construction underway. Its very rare that you get to experience the birth of such a city. It must be what if felt like when Rome or NYC were in their building booms. Everything is crisp and clean and BIG. The city has spared no expense at making everything extravagant.

dubai architecture burj al arab

Mixed in with the new you can find a touch of the old. A tour of Al Bastakiya at night gave us some flavor for the past before returning back to the ultra modern surroundings by the Westin Mina bastakiya westin mina seyahi

Well and you can’t visit Dubai without saying hello to the World’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. I confess openly to a fear of heights, so was content to snap the building from the ground. At 2716.5 feet tall it also boasts of having the highest occupied floor in the World. I am not sure I could handle it.

dubai burj khalifa

The Food

Some days it is a toss up as to which cuisine I like better – Japanese or Lebanese. Having spent my school years in Dearborn, Michigan I got my taste for hommous at an early age. Well before it became a mainstream grocery staple like now. For our team dinner our hosts took us to Abd el Wahab which has a balcony overlooking the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall’s amazing fountain. The mezze was pretty darn tasty!!

lebanese meza hommos moutabbal samkeh harra

The team was divided on the anise-flavored arak drink. Personally I liked it, but had to sip it in moderation. The samkeh harra was my favorite dish of the evening. Fish and tahina sauce with walnuts and almonds – yum, yum, yum, yum, yum.

abd el wahab anise arak dubai mall fountain

The Souvenirs

I brought home a simple box of dates for my honey. There were plenty of camels, rugs and other Arabian knick-knacks to tempt us with as well. Given our time was short and limited to the hours after work, photos made the best keepsakes. The malls carry so many American and European name brands; they just weren’t very exciting. So we instead focused on the older part of town instead.

arabian slippers aladdin shoes poofs gold souk

Sadly I couldn’t find a pair of Aladdin slippers in the right color and size for my big feet. My teammate Anna was a good sport to accompany me in my lengthy search. I went back to the hotel with a blister from all our walking. We never did manage to find the gold souk. We both used different map tools on our iPhone and Android. Both maps said we were standing right there – but I can promise you we were not.

dubai bastakiya spice souk

I’ve saved the two most exciting adventures for last. I’ll post those in the coming days.

dubai sunset jumeirah palm

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