Posts Tagged 'PROJECT HOME'


I made these for the kids and their moms before we all trooped off to see Cirque du Soleil Michael Jackson, the Immortal Tour. We scored good prices and tickets from TravelZoo, which took us all the way to the FRONT ROW! If you haven’t seen the show, you must. They were amazing and the music of course took us back to our elementary school and teenage days of watching Michael Jackson marathons on MTV. We were out of our seats for half the show, dancing along to Thriller, Bad, Beat It, They Don’t Care About Us and many more favorites.


Spring rolls are one of my favorite foods of all time. They are so easy to make, tastes so fresh, and incredibly healthy to eat all the time! My mom use to pick herbs from the garden, just throw them all in a basket and put them on the dinner table. Julienne some veggies like fresh lettuce, cucumbers, jicama, carrots, add whatever meat or fish you’re making that day,  and voila…a spring roll. She usually makes a fish sauce for dipping, but I tend to prefer peanut sauces with spring rolls.

I’ve been wrapping spring rolls my whole life, and I have a few ways of doing it. My old favorite was just having my wet rice paper on a small dish, throwing everything into the middle lined with good fresh lettuce leaf without the rib, and fold in the sides to not have any open ends until you bite into them. This is my dad’s way of rolling them because he makes the BIGGEST spring rolls filled to the rim with everything and everything. He also says that he gets lazy and doesn’t want to roll a lot so just do a few enormous ones to save time. I learned to love that way of rolling from him, but for photography and aesthetic reasons, this open ended way by Steamy Kitchen is much prettier!

I usually make a peanut sauce with hoison on the stovetop learned from Ravenous Couple because I LOVE Bo Bia and they haven’t let me down on a recipe yet… but Jaden of Steamy Kitchen caught my attention on my Feedly blog roll with her recent post on Vegetable Spring Rolls and in particular, her feature of The Blender Girl’s Orange Almond Sauce for Vietnamese Spring Rolls [her cookbook is a bestseller on Amazon]. Sorry, that was a lot of links, but I’m a firm believer in citation due to law school. The sauce is easier to make because you don’t have to heat anything up. Instead, you can use a blender or food processor to mix all your ingredients. I made some adjustments to the sauce to cater to my taste: I used regular JIF peanut butter instead of almond butter [because I just love the pure peanut taste], and I almost doubled the amount of peanut butter from the suggested amount, and I used less lime juice. The sauce is quite thick with just 1/4 cup of water, so I added little bits of water as I blended until I was happy with the consistency. 




May 10

I am uber happy [and shocked] to see my herbs not just alive, but thriving!!! I’m  harvesting a lot of these today to make spring rolls. I’m having some trouble with my mint. They are growing like crazy, which is great because I use so much of it, and I contained them into one pot on its own….but it’s getting these tiny flies and slight fungus or mold. I think I’m watering it too much, but does anyone know how to treat this? Should I just let it dry out a bit and see what happens?

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Here is the link and picture of what my herbs looked like when I first got them: Home Project – Planting Flowers

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my harvest on 5/10/14

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April 12

Now that the leaves and last year’s mulch have been cleared, we pressure washed the cement and deck, pulled as many rocks and weeds out of the dirt and added potting soil to everything….it’s time to plant the flowers and herbs before it’s too late! We have a week of sun right now, so I’m taking advantage of the weather and getting outside. The herbs will all be in pots in case it gets too cold and I have to bring them inside. The flowers will be planted in my pre-made flower bed, and I’m going to buy a baby olive tree at the PCRF [Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund] gala this upcoming weekend. I’m not really sure where to put the olive tree but I know I want one! Plus, it’s bought for charity and peace, so I just have to do it!

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April 03

Our back yard and balcony looks clean enough, but it’s actually a little hot mess with all the leaves cluttering the yard since last summer. We initially only wanted to put up lights and make a small herb garden on the balcony, but somehow, we managed to take on this huge project of making the backyard and balcony our little private sanctuary. First, we took a trip to Home Depot and looked at all the herbs and plants we may want in our garden. Then we loaded up on recyclable lawn bags to dispose of all the extra leaves, and then we took the pressure washer to the wooden balcony deck and the concrete below. We had a lot of the industrial tools already, so we just picked up a few gardening cultivators, gloves, and herbs from the store to begin our new home project.


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March 08

As mentioned in my previous post THE SOFA WALL, I was working on decorating that particular wall. I’m also working on the wall right above my desk.  This is the first round of artwork arrangement and I’m really excited to show it although its just on the ground for now. Amine is out, but I wanted it to surprise him when he gets home. That way, it’ll be a fresh unbiased opinion, and what he decides, goes. He’ll also be the one hanging all of these up! 😉  Once it goes on the wall there will be no turning back because I don’t want to poke holes all over my wall nor buy a million Commander sticks! One of the 11 x 14 paintings will go over my office wall, but I’m still undecided which one it will be yet so suggestions are welcome!




March 07

I few weeks ago, I started my home project. You can see those posts here: the wingback chair, the sofa and the bar, the sofa wall, and the office storage.

Today, I wanted to do an update on how we’ve utilized the space. The side tables needed light [for reading and late night home arrivals], so I added a great side table lamp that matches my tall lamp by the wingback chair. Bed Bath and Beyond had these lamps on sale as a three pack so we picked all of them up. I also added fresh flowers …. and the bottle of Cointreau worked its way over to the French books and Parisian Tour Eiffel. I was a Parisienne at one point in my life and it definitely influences my interior style! We love nightcaps and wine, so I always make sure to have some accessible on the side tables. They are such beautiful bottles so they also serve as great decor!







The office space here is used quite often as we are constantly using office supplies and utilizing our camera gear. I always like having my extra accessories at the ready. I also started framing a lot of my artwork in the last week, so I put the map up today, and also added the very small Vietnamese art tissue up. I carried these three little pieces in between my postcards for six months and I forgot about them when I got back. When I moved to Atlanta, I had to go through so many of my souvenirs, and I was thrilled to find these delicate pieces again and they look amazing on my bookshelves. An expensive bottle of champagne makes for great reusable decor pieces, the aguila is ready for guests, and travel books are crucial to my bookshelf! Oh! and the Tibetan flags are still close by. I hung them on the open window separating the dining room from the living room.









lamps … bed, bath, and beyond

d flower vase/mug … anthropologie

books … vintage gift and barnes & noble

February 19

My office is in the living room, so I have to be careful about what I keep out. I do a lot of work here, but I also want to keep it very clean, minimal, and organized. Our dining room area isn’t being used properly, but we only found that out after we utilized the space for a certain amount of time. I decided to shift the dining table to the door since we never sit there, and I made a small office storage space that would look appealing to the eye. Later on, if I want to add more shelves to make into bookcases, I can do so. The shelves are from Target, and I put them together all by myself! I bought two of them, and put them next to each other so that I can add more later if needed.

Filling in the cubby holes was more challenging than I thought. The bins I bought along with the shelves were beautiful but didn’t fit the holes, so I had to reorganize and reevaluate with what I already had [which also saves money!]. I decided I wanted at least 2 cubes to hold just decor to break up the look a bit, and I utilized the bottom level to store as much of the extra mundane papers. My grey boxes hold all the miscellaneous small things, and my black boxes that usually go on my desk will hold all of my office supplies like stapler, tape, sharpener, etc. This declutters so much of my actual working space [my desk only has a pen holder now], and this area is really close to my desk, but still hidden from the public view.





shelves … target

2013 + 2014 boxes … the container store

travel suitcase … michaels

white boxes … ikea

painting … leanne sargeant of sargeant creative

February 16

I’ve had this chair for a few years, but it was always stored away in some corner back at my house in California. My uncle was going to give it away for donation, but I rescued it and kept persisting to Amine that it was worthwhile to bring here to Georgia. I’m so glad I prevailed because it  is the PERFECT accent chair for my living room. The wine bar has been moved to another corner, and this is now our reading and writing nook. I photographed it when we just positioned it into place, and am just loving the contrast of the green against the hardwood. I then added a little letter holding rack filled with colorful pens and notecards for anyone who sits here to write. I love that this area is in the living room too, since I love when guests leave me messages when they visit, and I find them later after they have left.