umamimart-flyerIn the Winter 2014 issue, Yoko Kumano shared one of her favorite childhood recipes, Ikuradon. The dish is simple and fresh, but don’t let the ingredients list fool you. The perfect layering of toppings in this rice bowl produce luxurious results. I was first introduced to Umami Mart when we started working on Issue No. 14, and was so excited to hear that such a businesses existed in my area. Together, Kayoko Akabori and Yoko Kumano run the brick-and-mortar store headquartered in Oakland, California. The shop offers Japanese kitchen and barware, along with an impressive collection of Japanese sake and beer.

Umami Mart will be hosting their Third Annual Japan Beer Fest this Sunday, at The Trappist in Oakland. This year, there will be an assortment of more than 30 Japanese craft beers. If you get hungry, Ramen Shop will be serving up their famous fried rice for the festivities. And of course, Umami Mart will be open so that you can hop over and shop for some goodies during the event. Hope to see you there!

umamimart-products{ Top flyer by Umami Mart, middle images by Melissa Gordon, last image by Erin Gleeson }


Warby Parker in Hayes Valley

by meg on January 30, 2015

Warby Parker Glasses

I first started wearing glasses in college—and wore them for about 3 years. One day they broke in half (I sat on them), and being an unemployed recent graduate at the time, I decided to forego getting a new pair right away largely because they were too expensive. Then a curious thing happened—after about year (yes, that is how long I waited) I went to get my eyes checked and I found out that, crazily enough, my vision had returned back to 20/20. I should have been happy, right? Despite the miracle of restored vision, I was actually a bit sad that I didn’t have to wear glasses. They were a cool…accessory.

That was 1998 and at the time the words cute and inexpensive were not usually conjoined in describing eyewear. Until of course, Warby Parker came along years later.

Last night, we had the pleasure of attending the opening party for Warby Parker in Hayes Valley. (They’ve actually been open for about two months now, but their initial party date had the misfortune of landing on the inception of #Stormaggedon 2014—hence rescheduling.) We enjoyed the library-esque design: bookcases filled with hardcover titles that were organized by color, reading nooks with leather seating, reference desk signage over what might normally be a service counter (it was a DJ station and bar last night). We also instantly recognized the cityscape murals and art throughout the space as the work of local designers and illustrators, Lab Partners (the duo designed the cover for our 2012 Holiday Gift Guide).

Perusing the selection, I started thinking of wearing glasses again—partly for style but mostly as a cover-up for my allergy-ridden eyes in the coming spring months—and starting at $95 a pair; it’s really a no brainer.

Hmmm, maybe I should get two.

Warby Parker Hayes Valley

Warby Parker Reference Desk

Warby Parker Reading Nook

Warby Parker Lab Partners

{Photographs by Lisa Wong Jackson}


Chalkboard-Sign1For his birthday this year, my son Ben requested a Fantastic Mr. Fox party, which was no surprise considering that he has seen the movie numerous times, and is constantly singing the “Boggis, Bunce, and Bean” song—always pausing and then slowly enunciating the word, “nonetheless.” I loved the theme that he chose and, luckily, the party ideas came easily. I thought I’d share some of them here, in case anyone out there is planning a party and needs a little inspiration.

I went rustic with the invitation and used watercolor to paint some of the text as well as Mr. Fox.


Chocolate is Ben’s favorite cake and icing flavor, so I baked a decadent and rich two-layer chocolate cake topped with sprinkles. The flags were cut from old fabric scraps and glued to wooden skewers. The “Fantastic Mr. Ben” banner was hand drawn with a calligraphy pen on kraft paper, and then his plastic fox figurine was placed beneath the banner. 


Every birthday party, we give out favor bags filled with plastic toys and bubbles. Instead of the usual bags, I decided to sew fox masks for the kids this year. Felt is my favorite fabric to work with because it is so easy to cut and sew. Once I drew the pattern on card stock, I traced it over the felt and enlisted my husband to cut out the pieces.


I also made s’mores kits for the kids and stuffed small boxes with graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows. On top of each box, I wrote one of my favorite quotes from the movie to remind each kid how fantastic they are.

SmoresKitAnd it isn’t really a kid’s party without a game, is it? We decided to help out Mr. Fox and played pin the tail on the fox. My husband drew the fox from the invitation on a large poster board, and cut the tails out of felt. Instead of tacks, we used sticky dots on the back and wrote each child’s name on washi tape. It was a hilarious sight to see, and there was a prize for the winner.


Next year, I hope Ben picks an equally great theme for his birthday party!


Today we’re sharing our fourth and final installment of Claudette Carracedo‘s The Mother-Daughter Project; the series has been a sweet reflection leading up to Mother’s Day. It’s easy to focus solely on the particular phase a relationship is in at present, but the breadth of these relationships is a good reminder of memories from the past, as well as a look into the years to come. If you missed week one, two, or three, spend some time reading them this weekend. Thanks for sharing these with us, Claudette!

From Claudette: Vickie is my wonderful mom. This past year has been one of her most trying. I’m constantly inspired by her courage, strength, and perseverance. Making her laugh makes me happy.

From Claudette: It never ceases to amaze me how our pets play such pivotal roles in our lives. They are family. And like family, they help us through both our trials and tribulations. Hearing how Tupelo was there for Romy at a time she needed it most was just heartwarming. Romy’s incredible wife, Heather, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. She underwent a lumpectomy, 6 month of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, followed by 5 weeks of radiation.

From Claudette: Michelle and Maiya have one of the sweetest mother-daughter relationships, filled with crazy amounts of kisses, hugs, and love. And a lot of silliness. But don’t be fooled, this little 5-year-old is a big fan of Star Wars and can probably out-quiz you if challenged!

{ Photos by Claudette Carracedo }


Today brings us to part three of Claudette Carracedo‘s The Mother-Daughter Project. In honor of Mother’s Day on May 11, we’ve been sharing installments of the photos Claudette captured of relationships between women of all ages. This week’s are particularly heartwarming, and a good reminder of how sweet a bit of humor between a mother and daughter can be. If you missed the previous installments, be sure to check out week one and week two.

From Claudette: Laurel, an old classmate of mine, along with her family adopted beautiful Dieulane from Haiti in 2012. And wow. This little girl has such a cheerful and energetic disposition. I’m positive it is a result of being welcomed into such a warm and loving family. When leaving the studio I asked Dieulane for a hug to which she replied: “I’m a big fan of hugs!”

From Claudette: Michelle, a lawyer, and Margaret, a retired pharmacist who immigrated to Canada at the age of 21, have an inspiring and dynamic mother-daughter relationship. Clever, bright, and quick-witted. During our session, we went from Margaret insisting on re-combing Michelle’s hair to having brief discussions on vegetarianism, photography, figure skating, and religion. According to Michelle: “We use to go to the library together almost every week to find books to read, starting before I could barely read. She says she was desperate for me to learn to read so I’d sit quietly and not be such a pest.”