asa ramen

friday night :: no ian ... no dinner plans ... cold ... what should we eat? at first we were going to get mexican from our usual place, but then an idea hit me. why not try the new(ish) ramen place that rameniac mentioned in his la times article as having some of the best kotteri shoyu ramen around?

so we drove down to gardena around 7pm to the strip mall i've been to quite a few times before (my extended family used to go to sanuki no sato a lot) and sat down at the counter of asa ramen. (i wasn't quick enough to snag the only four-person table; there are about five other two-person tables and i think about eight seats at the counter. if you go early enough there's no wait.)

seeing as i'm on a "diet" and just pledged to my fitness challenge nutrition "leader" that i would cut back on my ramen intake, i opted for the assari (light) shoyu (soy sauce) ramen ($6.50). rupert got the kotteri (rich ... i.e., fatty) shoyu ramen ($6.95) large (+$2.00, i think). we each got the shoyu tamago (marinated shoyu hard-boiled egg) ($1.00) to go with.

mine was good, although i couldn't help but eye rupert's much richer, much bigger meal. but first, let me describe what i slurped:: the regular size bowl is on the smallish side, but it was perfect for me since i'm watching portion sizes (i would say the size is similar to chabuya tokyo noodle bar's). the broth is indeed assari, not as salty or shoyu-ish as i imagined. the noodles are thin and firm, just the way i love them! it comes with a couple of slices of pork, menma (bamboo shoots), and green onions. the added egg was quite good; the shoyu flavor was really deep but the yolk still retained some of its runny-ness, which is the way i like my ramen eggs.

i took a sip (i gotta cut back on my sodium too, so no drinking-to-the-last-drop business for me). i took a slurp. i took another slurp. and it was good. but ... i just could not get the idea of soba out of my head. something about the thinness and the bite to the noodles combined with the broth reminded me of a plain bowl of hot soba noodles. not exactly what i was expecting at a ramen place.

rupert's bowl, on the other hand, had the rich, pork-infused, fatty soup that i usually opt for. i admit i had a sip and slurp from his bowl and it was much better. much more the ramen i had in mind. alas, i will have to save the super-splurge of a big bowl of kotteri shoyu with extra toppings for another day ... or year ... or lifetime.

asa ramen (i've also seen it spelled "ahsah" ramen)
18202 south western avenue
gardena, california 90248
6:00pm~2:00am (closed sundays)


baby shower gift

my friends M+S are expecting twins in the next month or so ... that'll make three daughters under the age of 2! to help them get ready S is having her baby shower today. i sold two tagE*blankEs to another family friend to give to S. so i had to think what i should make as a gift.

travel diaper + wipes carrier :: tropical palm tree flannel

i found this pattern by jan andrea for a travel diaper + wipes case. i figured, with twins, M+S will need to stash diapers in various places (like their car) so why not have a cute case? now that i think about it, i shoulda made another one for their older daughter L's diapers, too.

travel diaper + wipes carrier :: inside lined in green flannel

the directions say that "depending on your sewing knowledge" the project should only take half an hour. you may remember from my experience making L's first birthday present that i'm not particularly good at gauging how long projects take. sure enough, it took me half an hour just to print out the patterns, cut them out, and adjust them (i needed the pattern to be bigger), and another 15 minutes just to cut out the darn fabric. the actual sewing took at least another hour, i think; it took me a few minutes to figure out a couple of the steps. if i make another one, though, i'm sure it won't take me nearly as long.

travel diaper + wipes carrier :: ribbon loop with linking ring

i was going to add a pocket to the front for a travel-size purell bottle, but i totally forgot. instead, i added a ribbon near the flap for the purell and a linking ring.


CHA-W 2008

you know that scrapbooking is about 1) preserving memories, 2) the pictures, and 3) shopping, right? (and pretty much in that order, too.) which means that one of the biggest events of the year is the craft and hobby association's winter show, where manufacturers showcase their new products (it's like fashion week for the scrapbookig biz). most attendees are buyers, but i got a guest pass from my best friend who works for an arts supply manufacturer.

needless to say i was giddy to be attending. after all, you get to see the new products weeks and months before they hit the stores. i went on the first day, which is usually hectic, but it wasn't as bad as i expected (my aforementioned friend predicted the slump in the economy would affect sales). the scrapbooking section seemed to be the most active since there were crazy scrappers and store owners walking around pulling carry-on bags behind them. i'm guessing they need roll-y luggage for all the catalogs and freebies they get, but i'm still not sure what's in their luggage.

it took me more than several hours to browse just the booths i was interested in. i also took some time to do "make-and-takes," simple projects you make at the booth with a company's products.

by far the most product-heavy make-and-take i did was from little yellow bicycle, deja views' new line. it was an acrylic mini-album using the zach's life collection; they even let us take home the left over stickers, labels, and tags from the sheets we used. well worth the 30 minutes i waited in line for my turn.

i also had fun at the fiskars' booths make-and-takes :: a notebook and mini chipboard keychain album. for the notebook i used the new scallop border punch, which i really like.

as for product, i, of course, loved the new stuff from american crafts (i always do) and i was bummed they didn't have any make-and-takes despite their huge booths. chatterbox's new papers are darling, especially the happy day line. i'm looking forward to the heather bailey line from autumn leaves. the new lace cardstock from ki memories is super-cute too; my faves are the apples and stars. there were tons and tons of other stuff i looked at, but i can't even remember a fraction of them. since i'm not a retailer i refrained from taking any catalogs (i don't think they would've offered any to me anyway); it'll come back to me once the new products start showing up in magazines and stores.

it's unfortunate i won't be able to buy most of this new stuff, but it was fun just looking. however, i have to say that nothing i saw totally wowed me; nothing completely new and innovative that i've never seen before. the peek-a-boo chipboard+acrylic albums from tinkering ink are pretty cool, though. sadly, i didn't see these in person; i found out about them after the fact from someone else's blog. there were just too many booths and too many products to see in one day. now i understand why people attend all four days.

as expected, i also glimpsed some scrapbook "celebs" :: ali edwards, donna downey, elsie flannigan, heidi swapp, jenni bowlin, shimelle laine, laura kurz, and my friend, mary grace abuzman. i took a class with mary grace over a year ago at scrapbook oasis but she still remembered me when i peeked into the fontwerks booth (i guess it helps that we're friends on facebook). she came right over to me and gave me a big hug; she's so sweet and friendly. i stayed to chat for a bit, did a make-and-take with their new branching out stamp set, and saw mark montano (from tlc). the only other person i had hoped to see but didn't was kristina. i saw that she was teaching a class with nisa on the first day but i didn't know about it in time to sign-up. bummer.

anyway, that's my cha recap. i wouldn't mind going again ... this time with my camera (even though the rules are emphatic about absolutely no photography, everyone was snapping away). and maybe with a resale license. hee!

playing catch-up

i neglected the blog for a week and i'm forgetting what the heck's been going on around here ...
  • sadly, my compost was infested with ants and fruit flies this morning. not a pretty sight. hopefully they'll go away ...
  • i gotta get into crafty mode this week 'cause i need to make some tagEs. i said i was going to udpate the shop with boy tagEs at the end of december and that hasn't happened yet so i better get my butt into gear. and if all goes well i'll be debuting a new product shortly.
  • i lost 0.4 pounds last week so i'm back to my weight from the week before that. but i've decided not to concern myself with the number on the scale too much ... although, the $120 pot for the "biggest loser" is tempting.
  • our camera came back from the camera shop in time for my photography class ... but it's still broken! we paid $350 to get it fixed and rupert's gotta take it back in today. grumble grumble!
  • laundry is piling up like crazy (clean + dirty) ... i don't feel like i have a lot of clothes but i guess i do.
  • my body is getting used to going to the gym. in fact, when i didn't go to the gym on friday, it totally threw my day off. i was still in my PJs on the couch at 7:30am, not doing anything productive, which is not how i've been spending my mornings lately. people are saying i'm getting hooked on working out ... me, hooked on exercising?! seriously? wow.


27 months.

maya @ 27 months :: february 4, 2008
  • at the beginning of the month she went the longest she's ever gone without a bowel movement :: two weeks! for days she complained about "pompom (tummy) owie" and she tried to go but nothing. rupert and i are thinking that maybe she thinks she can't go unless she's on the toilet ... which is where she finally went ... and clogged up the toilet a bit. can't blame her, it was two weeks after all!
  • she cries during the "fishnapping" scene in finding nemo because she's so upset about nemo being taken away by the dentist.
  • she's definitely talking more. unfortunately i don't seem to be understanding more.
  • somehow learned to sing the alphabet song by herself. she doesn't say every letter but she's got the general tune down ... and "l-m-n-o-p" sounds so cute.
  • her current favorite pixar movie :: the incredibles. she especially likes jack-jack and the robots (see below). seriously, we watch this movie at least once a day, sometimes twice. for some odd reason she calls bob parr's boss at insuracare "jiji" (what she calls my dad). i don't think they particularly look alike, but whatever.
  • she's really into "be-bots" (robots) :: she likes to play with my robot pencil sharpener (but i had to take it away since it's a favorite chotchke of mine); we've watched the iron giant, robots, and the incredibles; i bought her robot pjs from old navy's boy section.
  • actually enjoys drinking the "jolly green" smoothie i made (pineapple, mango, spinach).
  • during the second to last week of january she had four bowel movements. four! she's been a nicer person for it. and during the last week of january she almost went everyday. we've been a happier family for it.
  • when rupert started reading one of his school books, she went over to his school bag and brought him his highlighter.
  • for awhile she was into chunky yogurt and insisted we add cut-up fruit to her once-favorite-smooth yogurt.
  • rupert, in his infinite wisdom, taught maya how to say, "oh man!" when things aren't going her way.
  • at the park she doesn't want to go down the slide by herself anymore. she will climb up to the slide but then freak out until you go down with her. but just before sliding down she likes to wave to all the little people, "hi everybody!".
  • the moment i've been dreading is about to arrive :: she's not napping everyday anymore. i'll put her down, she'll complain, and then it'll be quiet. so i think she's napping but when i peek in her room she's standing in her crib, bright eyed, and apparently without having napped.
  • i think she understands the counting concept ... up to 2.
  • when the front of the crib is down she tries to climb up into her crib. but her legs aren't long enough to get all the way up so she just leans forward and falls into the crib headfirst.i'm having a hard time distinguishing between her "help me" and "hold me".
  • spiders freak her out.
  • a few new fav phrases :: i want it, i don't want it (usually right after she says the first phrase), i neeeeeeed it.
  • using the spoon much better without spilling (too much) ... now if only i could let go enough to allow her to feed herself.
  • when we cross the street she holds my hand and yells, "run! run! run!" and tries to hurry to get to the other side.
  • terrible two independece is shining through :: "maya do it" as she gets into her car seat.


week 4 weigh-in

i knew it was coming :: the week my weight goes up. that was this week :: i went up 0.4 pounds. but i'm not too bothered by it. after all, it could be new muscle mass, right? right? plus, i met my diet challenge of eating more vegetables this week (which earned me some brand new lip gloss).

my problem with eating is definitely portion control. thursday and friday nights are the worst since i eat at my parents' and in-laws' houses. they make too much good food and i have to make a really conscious effort not to eat too much.

i am finding, however, that finding healthier things to eat is getting easier. i don't crave food with refined sugar, i don't crave the fatty stuff i used to eat; and i'm finding healthier alternatives for some of my staple foods. your body really does get used to new foods (or the lack of old favorites). this week i was really into the multigrain chips from trader joe's. they're not great for you, but they're better than regular chips and they're quite tasty. i've been eating them with hummus and fresh guacamole.

my fitness partner and i also managed to get to the gym five times this week. we mostly did weight lifting so this next week we'll try to incorporate more cardio. today i went to the gym in hopes of attending a yoga class but the instructor didn't show up, so i worked out by myself. it was, in fact, the first time i did a workout alone and i did pretty well. now i feel like i can get to the gym on other days without my partner, if necessary. now, if only somebody would watch maya for me while i work out ...

donating his brain to science

when i was pregnant with ian i participated in a pre-natal study at cedars-sinai medical center. now that seven years have passed, they asked us to return for a follow-up (the study is looking at effects of pre-natal care and stress on children's development ... or something like that). that was in december. as we were about to leave, the researcher asked us if we'd be interested in going to uci for another part of the study :: having ian's brain scanned in a mri machine.

i thought it would be pretty cool to see ian's brain and he thought so too. so we drove down to irvine yesterday and had the scan done. boy, those mri machines are loud! ian watched a dvd while he was in the machine for 15 minutes; i got to sit around and listen to the clicking and buzzing.

the researcher complimented ian on how still and mellow he was. quite possibly the best scan they've gotten in such a short time. their study emphasis is on the hippocampus, a part of the brain that controls long-term memory. ian's was pretty large, and the researcher guessed that he had a good memory. now we have scientific proof about his pretty amazing memory.

next week we'll get a printout of his brain scans. i think i'll get it framed. ;)

[on a totally different note :: on the way home i dragged ian to paper source at south coast plaza. they were selling this great composition notebook from knock knock (which i can't find on either website) for $14.50. guess what? i got the same notebook at marshall's the day before for $2.99! back to paper source, i also got this label stamp, and these great papers. sigh. i love that store.]