Random pictures from the week

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Family Life, Life, photography

Thought I’d take a minute to share a few pictures from the last week or so. I wish I had a nice story to tie them all together, but alas, this is randomness at its finest.

Toddler checking toy phoneChecking her messages.

Toddler with abacus
Now she’s checking her math. LOL.

Kid taking picture
“Say ‘cheese’!” (I should have turned the camera on for him.)

saint bernard dog beggingGiada doing what she does best.

Vietnamese dinnerDinner with my aunts, uncles and a cousin this past Saturday. The Kid was sick, so he stayed home with The Hubs. The Girl and I went together and had a nice time. It was fun catching up with my cousin and see what was going on in her 14-year-old mind. (Yes, I have a 14-year-old cousin and yes, people have mistaken her as my daughter before, ha ha.)

We take our reading seriously around here.

He told me to turn off the flash. πŸ˜›

A good poke bowl is hard to find out in the suburbs, but I live near a Japanese grocery store so it’s easy to pull together the ingredients to make a good bowl myself. My plating presentation probably needs help though. πŸ™‚

morning-livingroom-022718Typical morning in the living-room-turned-playroom.

kids-livingroom-022718I’m pretty sure I was trying to get them to pose. How did I do? πŸ˜‰

putting-on-hat-022718“Hat on, Mama. Let’s go!”

Kindness at the grocery store

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Life
At the grocery store a few months ago.
At the grocery store a few months ago (aka not related to the following story).

On Saturday, The Girl and I went to the grocery store. When we were done, we went to one of the registers. I pulled into the lane and stood in front of the cart to begin unloading the things in the basket of the cart onto the conveyor belt. As I was about to return to the back of the cart (where The Girl was sitting) to reach the other groceries on the bottom rack of the cart, a man approached the cart and unloaded everything for me. I was so flabbergasted and said, “That was so nice – you must have kids!” He laughed and said that he had two. We chatted a bit while I kept expressing my gratitude. As I was paying, he let someone behind him go ahead of him in line because they had less in their cart.

The world is full of nice, considerate people.

I don’t have any reason for sharing this little story except that 1)I tend to be random; 2)I like positive things and figured that this little space I have on the internet isn’t a bad place to put my positive, random stories; and 3)this would have been too long of a caption to post on Instagram! I’m going to guess there will be more random-and-too-long-for-Instagram posts in the future. πŸ™‚ As always, thanks for reading.

Daily Design – Week 8

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Design

Hi hi,

I think I’m able to post my daily designs every day this week. So I woke up on Monday morning and put some finishing touches on a project I was doing in After Effects (an Adobe program that does video motion graphics and visual effects) when it decided to crash on me twice. And when it was up and running, it was incredibly buggy. Very sad. So this was my rant:


On Tuesday morning, I woke up feeling like a bottle of nerves. So this is something of a little pep talk to myself:
breath and just relax

2/21/18 – Just a little nod to Hump Day.

The Crown
2/22/18 – I’m very much into The Crown on Netflix these days. If you’re a royal follower (guilty), this is definitely the show for you. I’m going to miss Claire Foy (Queen Elizabeth) and Vanessa Kirby (Princess Margaret) when Season 3 rolls around.

2/23/18 – I’m excited to watch the Olympics’ Closing Ceremony on Sunday. This Olympics has inspired to make my two kids the next Shib Sibs…except that The Girl will be the ones to do the lifts because she’s really, really savage. LOL. (I’m not sure if The Kid is a willing participant in all of this.)

She's a tough one, that one....
She’s a tough one, that one….

Have a great weekend!

Chicago Snow Day

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Chicago, photography

It’s always easy for me to snap pictures of Giada in the snow at home, but there is something pretty stellar about the city under the blanket of white. One of these days, I’d love to get Giada in the city while it snows. I’m sure she would love that. These pictures were taken about a week and half ago when there was a nice big snow fall into Chicago. Instead of holing up in the suburbs, I trekked into the city to pick up my son’s birthday cake at Lutz – the strawberry whipped cream cake makes everyone happy around here. (No one else seems to get it done as well as Lutz.) Here are a few pictures taken from the area around the bakery (mostly in the Albany Park and Lincoln Square neighborhoods):


Happy Friday!

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Design, photography

This is my Daily Design – Week 7 post, and while I did design this week, I’m not ready to share most of the work I did this week. I will share two from the week though.

We’ve been sick around here in the last week (we’re all feeling almost back-to-normal at this point, so yay!). Sleep and NyQuil have been my friend. I’m pretty sure NyQuil is the reason for the former…

Created 2/12/18.

And this really isn’t a design, but I opened up Photoshop for this one, so I’ll count it. πŸ™‚ Yesterday morning at breakfast, I was intrigued at Giada placing herself between The Kid and The Girl.

Created 2/15/18.

Don’t worry – The Girl threw food at her, as always. So Giada definitely did not leave the table hungry. These days, she never leaves the table hungry because The Girl is just that reliable. (We’re working on that!)

That’s all for now. I hope everyone has a great weekend. πŸ™‚

Daily Design – Week 6

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Design, Giada

Another snow day around here. In case you can use another picture of Giada in her element, here you go:

Giada the saint bernard in snow


In addition to the snow day in the Chicago area today, it’s a sick day around here. Ew. The Kid, unfortunately, has been sick all week and spread the love to the rest of us. On Wednesday morning, he sat on our couch downstairs looking out into our yard. It seemed like a nice moment to pull out the camera, so I did. As soon as he heard the first click, he turned to me and said, “I don’t like that right now, Mama.” So the camera went down. But in case you think that was an isolated moment, I will admit that it is not. I respect all my subjects. Ron Galella I am not. πŸ™‚

Things the Mammarazzi hears

Aside from that little piece of work, I used the rest of the week to work on this alphabet book of select world languages. I picked English, Vietnamese (check out my last name) and Russian (check out my married name, he he) for obvious reasons. There really was no rhyme or rhythm for the others.

And that is all for now. I’m going to drag myself off the computer and to bed. Hope everyone is staying warm – and healthy!

Happy Friday,

Giada & Her Snow Day

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Giada, photography

We have been getting a nice, steady flow of snow around here this week. On Sunday, despite my temptation to stay inside all day (it never happens), I promised Giada a walk (we are very far from the daily walks she used to get before The Girl/Child #2 came into the picture).

dog staring down for walk
“Yo, I need a walk.”
Me getting ready.
Me getting ready.
walking dog in snow
“Let’s go.”
walking dog in snow
The cool thing about always carrying a camera is that my neighbors never question me when I randomly pose in front of their garage (such as the case here). They’ll comment on it later, but in the moment, they don’t question it.

I really thought Giada would be a lot happier with the walk. She had a little pep in her step and had a moment where she was about to chase a squirrel, but she just never felt like smiling.

Saint Bernard dog in snow


Saint Bernard dog in snow


Saint Bernard dog in snow
Seriously, what’s up with this?
But something tells me she enjoyed her walk all the same. :)
But something tells me she enjoyed her walk all the same. πŸ™‚

Hello hello!

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Life, photography

I haven’t forgotten that this is more a photo blog than anything else, so here are a few pictures from life in the last week. Pretty ordinary stuff. πŸ™‚ Can I also just say that I cannot believe we are already at the end of January? Wow.

Anyways, the pictures:

kids in snow
From a snow day about 2 weeks ago
trader joe stickers
I love that the Trader Joe’s employees offer stickers to the kids when we’re at the checkout line. The Kid is usually pretty good about sticking them on himself (coat, pants, shoes….he doesn’t limit himself). On this particular afternoon, he decided to stick them to the window. Oops. (Luckily, they were easy to peel off. Whew.)
dog resting with kids in background
This is Giada having a quiet moment. I have no idea how this happened as the kids are usually bouncing on her when she’s resting like this out in the open. (Take cover, Giada!!!!!!)
One of those nice moments that doesn't last too long in our household :P
One of those nice moments that doesn’t last too long in our household πŸ˜›
Kid drinking from carton
We are totally classy around here.

Toddler with camera
On Saturday, a FedEx package arrived at our door around lunchtime. I brought it inside, left it by the door and went back to the table to eat with the family. “Do you know what that is?” my husband asked. “My Speedlite [flash],” I responded. He looked confused, so I explained that I had to send it into Canon to get it repaired because it was dropped. I left it at that since he seemed satisfied with the answer. As the reader, you’re assuming that the kids dropped the flash, eh? Ha ha, if you knew it was me that did it you’d be right though (I’m not sure my husband ever caught on, lol). I’ve been playing with it again now that it’s back, which brings me to this picture. I love that the Speedlite helped light this picture, but more than anything, I love this moment. He’s technically not allowed to pick up my camera to play with it at his own leisure (which is what happened here), but he was looking all cute and stuff….so how could I be mad? (Plus, he was pretty careful with it – no one is more surprised about this than I am.) And here’s one of his masterpieces:

Yes, that's totally our ceiling.
Yes, that’s totally our ceiling.


Thanks for reading. πŸ™‚

Daily Design – Week 4

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Design

I’m sorry this is my only blog post of the week – I have a project I’m trying to finish up. As for my other goals for the year, I am pretty much getting about 7 hours of sleep at a night (there was a six hour night. Bad….) and I did not pick up any new Vietnamese words this week (I did pick up a phrase though!) but I have been reviewing words from earlier this month. Baby steps. As for design work, I have been producing things that include random thoughts and not so much work with substance. It’s been fun. πŸ™‚

It was a good weekend.
1/22/18 – Went with a Monday morning GIF. (We had a good weekend visiting old friends at their home in Indianapolis. And they were nice to let choose the brunch location – Cafe Patachou in case you were wondering. So. Good.)

1/23/18 – I’m not sure I’ll have time to work on a menu this week and had a bit of a freak out on what I should design. Ten ideas later, I pulled inspiration from my almost-three-year-old. Toddlers have the most interesting minds. And yes, I’m loving working with the color yellow.

1/24/18 – I have a Graham Elliot menu framed in my kitchen from a meal I had there years ago. (He wasn’t in that night, but one of his chefs signed the menu “Food is art made edible”.) His logo – at the time – was a small “g” with his name underneath. I wanted to see what my name would look like with the same look (but with a capital letter). I like it.

I, Tonya
1/25/18 – I can’t remember the last time I was in the movie theaters – heck, I can’t even remember the last time I saw a movie. (I attempted to watch the second Bridget Jones’s Diary a few weeks ago while making dinner, but there were too many interruptions. I also can’t believe that the movieΒ was soooooooooooo different from the book.) But with my own personal excitement forΒ I, Tonya (I was totally obsessed with the Nancy Kerrigan coverage back in 1994) this is probably the first time in years that I’m actually going to make an attempt to go to the theaters to see this. After watching her on ABC News (you can find the interview on Hulu) and reading this NYT article, I pretty much agree with the journalists that have sat down with her in that she is an interesting character.

Oh, and Nancy’s retraction (or my interpretation, anyway as she has said she doesn’t have anything to say about the movie):
I, Nancy


my perfect drive thru
1/26/18 – I’ve had a weird stomach issue for the last couple of days and the only thing that sounded good was a hazelnut soy latte from Starbucks (I don’t why it helped but it did), so for two days in a row, I found myself at the Starbucks drive thru. (And by the way, I love that Starbucks has a drive thru.) Not a bad thing. But then I started daydreaming about a drive thru where I could pick up sushi. Or pho. Or Molly’s Cupcakes (hey, Molly’s – come to the suburbs!). Really, I just want a drive thru that has whatever I need on a whim. (I guess this is where Uber Eats comes in hand, eh?)