Category Archives: Gift ideas

Purple and yellow send-off dinner and bulk flowers.

Before our good friends Monique and Jay went back to the States to both marry and relocate to their mutual hometown area of Chicago, we hosted a little send-off dinner for them.

The bride-to-be’s favorite color is purple, so I wanted to highlight that, but also mixed in some yellow to make things a little more summery.

Although, I’m a huge fan of professional florists, they’re not always in the budget… and so I often turn to bulk flowers.

In Hong Kong, I’ve had excellent luck with HingFatFlora: frankie.chan@hingfatflora.com. I know my sister-in-law Rosie is a big fan of BloomsByTheBox in the US.

In this ridiculous heat, the first thing I did was get those steaming flowers right into ice water and stuck them all right under the AC!

And then the pruning begins. I am far from a brilliant floral arranger, but one thing I do know is you have to get rid of a LOT of those leaves… you really don’t want any leaves below the water, or really the vase, line.

The one ESSENTIAL tool for DIY-flowering is Japanese (yes, they make the best ones) floral shears. They are super precise and last forever. If yours get a little rusty as mine have from time to time–although I do try to wipe them down after using them–a little WD40 will do the trick.

I really like these Ohkubu shears from Korin. Floral shears also make lovely shower or birthday gifts by the way… even if you’re not DIYing your flowers, you should always trim any flowers you receive on a bias for a longer life!

I don’t have seating for 15 so I ended up renting tables and chairs from Relish Kitchen. I used some purple cloth napkins underneath my arrangements so they would really pop off the long table.

The one thing that is helpful with flowers by bulk is to know the names of flowers you like so you can order appropriately, but it’s easily remedied… sometimes I start with a simple ‘purple flower google’ and lots of pretty things pop up.

The guests of honor are both vegetarians, I served a chilled gazpacho and coordinated another vegetarian salad bar–see one from May here!–and had several guests brings salads to round out the menu. Even with 15 guests, I think everyone still managed to get very full even without meat.

Oh and then there was the cake! I made Sweetapolita’s lavender and lemon cake.

I was really happy with how it turned out. You basically soak lavender in milk for the cake and then you also make a frosting with lavender infused milk. In between layers goes fresh lemon curd.

Personally, I can find lavender in food to be a bit too cloying and soap-like, but  the acidity of the lemon balanced that out perfectly.

I think everyone had a nice time and enjoyed getting to spend some real quality team with the departing guests of honor.

I especially loved when we were all sitting around the table toasting and roasting them!

Meeting fascinating new friends is the best part of living abroad. Saying good-bye to them is the worst!

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Baby animals.

Pretty much nothing is cuter than animals, except for maybe, well, baby animals.

How sweet are these portraits from The Animal Print Shop by Sharon Montrose? I think they would make a lovely baby shower gift.

The baby monkey just kills me! It reminds me of my friend Lauren and her love for this video.

And look at this sweet little crane! Check out more baby animals here. A big thank you to my friend Camille Styles for tipping me off to these new little friends.

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Carrying your camera in style.

I really love our DSLR camera, but I really hate carrying it around.

Our black nylon case just really doesn’t do it for me, so I end up throwing it into whatever bag I’m carrying, which really isn’t great for the camera.

The Claremont camera bag from Lo & Sons seems pretty nifty. It has room for your camera and a lens or flash, which would be perfect.

I also recently discovered a cool Hong Kong-based etsy shop !mo, which sells pretty straps to add a little personal style to your camera.

I think a nice leather strap would also be quite cool.

This one is from Motto and is personalized… a great gift.

This washi tape design is actually a cover for your existing strap, but I think it’s super smart that it has a pocket for your lens cover–very handy! From Loop De Loop.

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Flowers at work: FarmGirl flowers.

While I was working out of the SF Minted offices earlier this month, the Mr. nicely sent over these pretty flowers.

Male readers, please take note: There aren’t too many moves more brilliant than sending the lady flowers at work… although of course sending flowers is always genius.

Especially when they are really pretty flowers!! I wanted to share these with you because they’re from a new-to-me San Francisco florist: Farmgirl Flowers. And I was so impressed with how pretty and fresh they were, but also that there was no cellophane or giant box involved–I always feel so guilty carting all that trash away. Farmgirl smartly offers one daily arrangement to reduce waste and really, why not the florist pick the best flowers of the day and save you the awkward, um could you make it really pretty and use lots of purple discussion? The prices are very simple and reasonable, too. Small: $25, Med: $35, Large: $55. Add $10 for a vase.

They use all local flowers, which are delivered in recycled vases or used coffee sacks donated by Ritual Coffee Roasters (another of my SF faves). I love my burlap sack and even brought it back to HK with me… I know I’ll come up with something to do with it. Oh and they deliver by bike. Pretty cute. If you’re looking for an HK florist, I highly recommend Ellermann. They now even take deliveries online.

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Fun baby shower gift idea: number candle holders.

I am a very lucky girl and had several showers and got lots of amazing gifts… feeling so loved.

But did want to share one with you… I’m so excited to start a birthday number candle tradition with our little one, thanks to this gift from my friend Tori.

She has a tradition of getting all brides a Mariposa napkin holder for their engagement, a Mariposa tray for their wedding and now a Mariposa candle set for their babies. So perfect, right?

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