Our apartment in Redlands


We moved to Redlands, California last May, and I didn’t expect to find myself falling in love with this charming little city. We’re far enough away from LA/Orange County that the traffic is bearable, but close enough that we can still take day trips to the beach, to downtown LA for visits to the LACMA, or to our favorite pho place in El Monte. We live within biking distance to downtown Redlands, where you’ll find the post office, the most wonderful library, and an outdoor amphitheater where they hold musical concerts in the summertime. Dean’s commute to work is under fifteen minutes. There’s a fantastic night market/farmer’s market every Thursday. I’m volunteering at a wonderful local ministry where I work with underprivileged children in the area, and I love that it is just five minutes away from my home.

Sadly, we’ll be packing up again soon and moving on to another year of transitions. We’ll be living out of suitcases and relying on the kindness of friends and family for the next several months as we make our way over to New Jersey/New York/Washington D.C for Dean’s next set of rotations on this crazy journey of becoming a doctor. But we’re adventurers at heart, and so the prospect of exploring a new city for the next several months is something that we’re quite looking forward to!

Before we packed up our place, I wanted to capture some photos and memories of our apartment here. It’s been a good home to us, and I hope someday we can share these photos with our kids and tell them about this time in our lives when we lived in a little city called Redlands.

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A lot of the furniture in our home was bought second-hand, from thrift stores or Craigslist. We painstakingly refinished a lot of them, including this beautiful solid-wood mid-century table that I scored on Craigslist for $25. It even came with two inserts that can extend the table to seat ten! It was in pretty poor condition when we bought it, but after spending a couple days sanding, staining, and finishing, it was as good as new. We joke that it’s our first family heirloom we’ll be saving for our kids.

Some of the other refinished items in our home include: the teal lounge chair that I took apart and reupholstered in a bright linen, the coffee table, the blue velvet stool, and the side table. The side dresser is another project that I’d like to tackle someday. It has some great lines, but it’s covered in this strange off-white paint right now. We’ll see if that dresser makes the cut for our next apartment. :)

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Esther & Silas’ Vancouver Wedding

My cousin Esther got married this past spring, and I was happily recruited to help with all the decorations, flowers, and event design for the joyous occasion! Esther is like a big sister to me, especially since we share the exact same genes (I’m not sure how scientific this is, but my dad is her dad’s brother and my mom is her mom’s mother). We have all the same relatives and call them all the exact same titles in Chinese, and if you know Chinese extended relative titles, you know there are always too many to remember on your own! My sister and I were blessed to be able to see Esther and her brother Jere twice as much during our childhood and even now, as our family gatherings can be few and far between.

Esther’s wedding was definitely a reason for our families to gather and celebrate! And, oh my, it was a blast. :) We feasted, we wedding-prepped, we stayed up late, and we walked around and lounged around doing nothing in particular, but loved every minute of togetherness.

Here are some photos from Esther and Silas’ wedding day, captured by her talented photographer Jaime Delaine. More pictures can be found on her blog.



You might remember that when I got married (5 years ago just last week :)), I put together my own wedding bouquets and flower arrangements (and Esther actually helped out SO much too!). This time, I think I was better prepared for the daunting task — I did a lot of research, made “recipes” and sketches for my helpers and knew a little bit more in general about flower care and aesthetics.

Esther wanted a romantic, lush bouquet with lots of white, pink, and peonies. We also worked in some ranunculus, roses, pink spray roses, silver brunia berries, and dusty miller. I love the texture and color that the silver berries and dusty miller leaves add to the bouquet.


Esther also requested silk boutonnieres since Silas is highly allergic to many flowers. I put these together before we even put in the flower order, but it was a happy coincidence that we ended up using a lot of the same flowers! We even had pussy willows incorporated into the altar decorations up front.


Oh, and we can’t forget to mention the cutest little ring bearer and flower girl (aka my nephew and my cousin’s daughter)!


The venue was a beautiful light-filled church in Vancouver. It had a gorgeous, exposed-beam ceiling and little twinkle lights strung up all over. We didn’t have to do too much to the space, since it was decorated in purple for Easter already. We decided to keep the purple up and just added some pink in there. You can also see the large arrangements up front that one of Esther’s bridesmaids helped me put together.


Over at the reception site (Westwood Plateau), I had another team of people who helped me set up everything for the dinner. What a lifesaver they all were! Here are some shot of the reception area. I love that we included fresh flowers on the seating chart and the banner (flowers can be surprisingly resilient; we used hot glue!)

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For the table centerpieces, we decided to pair some rustic touches to match the reception room with some softer, romantic florals. Each table centerpiece consisted of a twine-wrapped wine bottle, a lace-covered mason jar with soft florals, a white pillar candle, and a framed table number. All the elements sat on top of a wooden tree slice, which rested on top of a linen table runner.




As favors, we decided to set up a tea buffet for guests to help themselves to various flavors of tea. My sister hand-carried all of this tea to Vancouver from China! She spoke to the tea vendors she purchased the tea from and made brewing and tasting notes for each different type of tea. We typed those up and made little cards for guests to take home with them along with their teas.


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Here are a couple of photos of my (and Esther’s) grandparents from the photo garland behind the tea table. The black and white one in the middle top is a photo of my dad’s parents, and the one to the right of that is a photo of my mom’s parents.


For the head table, I wanted to keep it pretty simple with just one main element that draws your attention. I enlisted the help of my cousin Janet to help me create a banner with Esther and Silas’ names in calligraphy. She did a fabulous job, and it looked beautiful with fresh flowers and hung up in front of the white drapery and twinkle lights (that Esther’s architect/pastor friend Jon put up for us!).


photo by Becca

The wedding ceremony was so beautiful, and the reception was filled with AMAZING food (Hello king crab legs, raw oysters, mussels, cocktail shrimp, and smoked salmon. And that’s just what was on my first plate.), corny MC jokes courtesy of Esther’s brother Jere, and plenty of heartfelt speeches. It was so markedly evident that Esther and SIlas are dearly loved! Love you, Es! Welcome to the family, Silas. :)

Easter Printable Giveaway + Feature on Growing Weisser

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I’m so delighted to be featured on the lifestyle blog Growing Weisser this week! Growing Weisser is a lifestyle blog written by a mom and her four daughters. One of the daughters, Bekah, became a good friend of mine during my time in Grenada, and I also had the pleasure of getting to meet her lovely mother Kerry when she visited! I love the name they came up with for their blog — Weisser is the last of each of the girls (maiden names for all the daughters who’ve now all married and changed their names) and makes a perfect name for a blog that shares wisdom about topics like cooking, parenting, organization, crafts, and faith.

They kindly asked me to be a part of their Passion Perspective series on their blog this week, and I was happy and honored to be a part of it! Check out the complete interview over there every day this week. Read a little about my education and background, the journey of starting Lavender’s Blue, challenges I faced along the way, and some products and reviews.

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Also, be sure to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a free Easter Printable party pack!

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Baby Audrey’s French Baby Shower

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There must be something in Grenada water because it’s baby season for (practically) all my Grenada friends! Grenada’s become a very special place for Yunah and Jin because not only did they get married there, but they’ll soon be bringing back their baby girl Audrey to her new home in Grenada.

Some friends and I thought it would be fun to throw Yunah a French themed baby shower since Jin and Yunah just had their honeymoon in Paris this past summer. We went with a simple pink and black theme and threw in some polka dots and stripes for some extra Parisian flair. :)

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We kept the menu simple with French foods like cheese and grapes, croissants, lavender lemonade, and vegetable crudites.

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And for dessert, we had creme brulee cupcakes! So yummy.

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We played a fun memory game and had a friendship flag activity to help decorate baby Audrey’s nursery.

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Congrats on your baby girl, Yunah! We can’t wait to meet sweet Audrey.

Daniel & Gabriella’s Vintage Mod Wedding Invitations

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Growing up, I was blessed to have lived close to so many of my cousins. We’d stay for weeks at each other’s houses over the summers, where we’d spend the summer watching movies, making up our own games, producing and acting out our own versions of our favorite musicals (The Sound of Music!), and going swimming everyday. Now that we’re all grown up, with families of our own, it’s been a little harder to see each other quite so often. But I think those summer days cemented our cousin bond, and there will always be one special spot in my heart that only they can fill!

Of course, I was delighted when my dear cousin Gabby and her fiance Dan asked me to design their wedding suite for their OC wedding in Laguna Beach. They were inspired by the works of Taiwanese artist Michael Lin and wanted their invitation suite to have that same juxtaposition of vintage florals and modern typefaces and layouts. Here’s what we came up with:

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I wish so much I could have been there to celebrate with you both, but thank you for letting me share in your big day, nonetheless!

This is Grenada: Belmont Estate (Grenada Chocolate Factory)

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Belmont Estate is one of my very favorite places in Grenada; I could easily spend hours and hours there wandering through the gardens, petting goats, sampling chocolate, tasting goat cheese, and chatting with the talking parrot, Rainbow. The Estate is actually a fully functioning 17th-century plantation that houses a cocoa processing plant (which is why many on the island refer to it as the Chocolate Factory), organic vegetable garden, goat dairy farm, restaurant, petting zoo, museum, and arts & crafts collective. It’s located at the northern end of the island in the town of St. Patrick, which is just about two hours away from where we live in Grand Anse. Belmont is perfect for a day trip, and I’d recommend getting there just in time for their lunchtime buffet. :)

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A buffet meal with all the local faire: salad with nutmeg dressing, sauteed provisions (root vegetables), chicken, local fish, beef, and mashed pumpkin.

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Local fruits and spices: jackfruit, papaya, coconut, turmeric, cashew fruit & nuts, tamarind, ginger, wax apples, cocoa beans, and many more that I can’t name. Belmont Estate comes down once every two weeks to the local farmer’s market in Grand Anse, and I’ve had the chance to get to know some of the people who work there. The plantation is one of the few places in Grenada where they grow jackfruit, and I’ve been lucky enough to buy jackfruit from them several times at the farmer’s market. Apparently, it’s not widely known or eaten in Grenada, so I often have Grenadians asking me how to eat it!

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A tour guide explains to us the process of making cocoa: cocoa pods are picked from the trees, their pulp is thrown into a bin where it is fermented for several days, and then the beans are laid out in the sun to dry on racks.

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At Belmont Estate, they have both traditional racks, which are rolled out when it is sunny and quickly rolled in when it rains or in the evening, and also newer structures that allow the sun to penetrate while protecting from rain.

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After the beans have dried completely, they are roasted and packed up to go to the Grenada Chocolate Company, where the chocolate is actually made. If you ever get a chance to try their chocolate, you’ll know that it’s about the closest to pure chocolate that you’ll ever taste. It’s also 100% organic and sustainably produced and exported (by sailboat!). They produce bars ranging from 60% pure chocolate to 100% pure chocolate (with a couple of specialty bars in between that contain things like Caribbean sea salt or cocoa nibs – yum!). I’ve only tried them in Grenada, but I’ve heard they’re available at Whole Foods too.

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Belmont is also home to The Goat Dairy, a non-profit organization dedicated to sustainable agriculture production, education, and empowerment among Grenada’s low-income families and youth. They provide training for local farmers and set up an educational program with the local elementary schools to teach students about agriculture, animal care, and home economics. They use the dairy farm as the centerpiece for teaching cross-curricular study, making it a teaching tool for teaching math, science, language, business, ethics, and art. Talk about project-based learning! There’s a really nice article here that describes the school project in more detail. Oh, and did I mention that they also make really great cheese?!

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Some animals in the “petting zoo” and some photos from the organic garden.

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And finally, a stop at the museum to learn all about the history of the plantation and to view some of the artwork of the local craftsmen.

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A Rain-Themed Baby Shower for Baby Hallie

LavendersBlueDesigns_RainShower_1I had the chance to throw a baby shower for my dear friends Hoi and Nick this past summer (with the much-needed help of Valine and Christina too!). What a treat it was to love on them and to shower them with blessings and encouragement! Baby Hallie has since arrived, and she is every bit as darling as I imagined (those kissable cheeks!!). :)

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Congratulations on your new little bundle of sunshine, Hoi and Nick!

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