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Location: Northern California

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


The Year of the Tsao

Self portrait with milkshake
Originally uploaded by marytsao.
Omigod! Legally Blonde: The Musical was great! Omigod! It turns out that it debuted in San Francisco, and we accidentally caught it on closing night. Its next stop is Broadway, and if the audience at the show we saw is right, it should do very well. I heard one guy on the way out suggest it would win a Tony Award for Best Musical. I loved it, and I especially loved how many young girls were in the audience. It reminded me of when I saw Annie and Best Little Whorehouse In Texas when I was in Junior High. I can't wait until Emily is old enough to go to the theater. Next week I'm taking her to see Disney On Ice -- it's a start!

It's been raining here lately, California's version of winter. I love hanging out with the kids in our family room with its walls of windows, hearing the rain beat down on our roof and seeing the water collect outside. There's nothing like a rain storm to make a home seem super cozy. I'm always thankful for a roof over my head but never more than when it's raining cats and dogs.

Tired... Today was a good day and I had a good balance of work time and me time. This afternoon, I went into San Francisco to visit the Museum of the African Diaspora (MOAD). Their current exhibit Slavery: InHuman History was informative and moving. I particularly enjoyed the three short films showing in the Freedom Theater: The Story of Toussaint L'Ouverture and the Haitian Revolution; Howard Thurman: Spirit of the Movement; and Nelson Mandela and the End of Apartheid. One of my goals this year is to explore more museums; there's so many I haven't visited.

After spending a couple of hours in the museum, I had tea and a vanilla bean cream puff at Beard Papa's. Man, that place makes a mean cream puff; it was hard to stop at one. While I was attempting to daintily eat my cream puff while not losing even a drop of cream, a guy at the next table said to me, "Just put the whole thing in your mouth. It will fit." I suggested that if I was alone, I might be more inclined to eat it in one bite, and we laughed and shared a joke between cream puff eaters. Cream puff eaters rule.

Mike and I have made a monumental decision. We've decided that we're going to Burning Man* this year, and ... wait for it ... we're taking the kids! We've bought our tickets, and we're thinking about transportation. (tricked out short bus?) We're still working out the details, but we're definitely going and I'm amazed at how much I'm looking forward to it. Yes, it will be a lot of preparation and work, but it will be a great family adventure that Emily--and possibly Thomas--might actually remember. Exciting! This is going to be a great year; I may have to start scrapbooking.

*If you have no idea what Burning Man is, check out this Wikipedia entry. To become further confused, read this McSweeney's essay by G. Xavier Robillard titled Summer Vacation at Burning Man.

Friday, February 23, 2007


Something that happened and some things that are gonna happen

I forgot to mention that last week I saw author Peggy Orenstein give a reading from her new book Waiting for Daisy: A Tale of Two Continents, Three Religions, Five Infertility Doctors, an Oscar, an Atomic Bomb, a Romantic Night and One Woman's Quest to Become a Mother. Part of what she read is in this adaptation she wrote for O Magazine. I'm looking forward to reading her book and I'm sure I'll tell you more about it when I have. Based on what I heard at her reading, I can tell it's going to be good in an honest, gut-wrenching, and painfully funny kind of way.

Our calendar is filling up. Next weekend I'm out of town with friends on a mom's weekend away, and in April the kids and I are going to visit family in Chicago. This year is Emily's first spring break, but we're going to skip Cancun in favor of hanging out with the family over Easter. In May, Mike and I will take a mom and dad's weekend away while my mom stays here with the kids.

Speaking of "Grandie Martha and Bumpa John" (as the kids call them), they'll be here tomorrow for a whirlwind weekend of cake eating, brunch going, and Academy Awards watching. Should be fun! I hope The Queen wins an Oscar; it's a great movie that had me sobbing into my hanky almost the entire movie.

And in a move that didn't have me crying but did have me both shocked and amazed, Mike bought us tickets to see Legally Blonde: The Musical, which we'll go to tomorrow while my mom and stepdad babysit. Omigod! My husband! Bought tickets! To a musical! This is a man who hasn't even seen Phantom of the Opera or Rent so it's not like he's a musical fanatic. He's a good husband, and this is clearly an act of love. Life is good.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

The one where I write about thongs

I think I may have let Susan's praise from yesterday go to my head. After I read her post I hijacked a cloud nine and floated down to Loehmann's in San Francisco, where I spent an obscene amount of money on designer sunglasses so big I was embarassed to wear them when I went to pick up Emily at preschool today. Preschool pick-up is often my litmus test while clothes shopping. When considering whether an article of clothing--say, a pair of navy blue, patent leather platform pumps--should find its home in my closet, I wonder to myself if I would wear it in front of a dozen other moms dressed in jeans and wearing Merrells.

Needless to say, they answer is many times, no.

Apparently my inner suburban shopper was on hiatus yesterday. I'll have to post a picture of my glasses to get your feedback on whether or not they're appropriate for a person who isn't Nicole Ritchie and who isn't leaving her rock star boyfriend's house at noon looking dishevelled. You know, a person like me.

Have you ever been to Loehmann's? It's not for the fashion faint of heart. They carry designer clothes at discount prices, but unlike Ross Dress For Less, Marshall's, or TJ Maxx, their stock consists of high end designer clothes. So even though the cotton tunic top I liked was discounted 50% off the original price, the original price was $400.

In 1987 I paid $160 a month in rent. Twenty years later I'm trying on shirts that cost that much. I'm not sure how to analyze that data, but it's something I try not to think about while in dressing rooms. It's best that I just keep reminding myself things like, 50% off! or girl, that dress makes your butt look positively tiny!

Speaking of dressing rooms, the dressing room at Loehmann's is an experience unto itself. It's one large room with mirrors on every wall. You undress, try on clothes, and crane your neck to see if your butt looks acceptable in front of a bunch of other women doing the same thing. Again, not for the faint of heart. Also, am I the only woman who hasn't gone thong? Why even bother with underwear at all, I ask you? Harumph, the inner suburban shopper is back.

Anyway. After spending an amount yesterday equal to the monthly rent I paid in 1999, I'm considering giving up clothes shopping for Lent. Except since I no longer smoke, drink, have casual sex (with strangers), and I only swear after the kids are in bed, I think giving up clothes shopping would be ugly. As in me tearing out my hair in clumps and jumping off the roof wearing a bath towel as a cape kind of ugly. And that just wouldn't be pretty, designer sunglasses or no.

But what I really wanted to tell you was that I hate thongs.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Friday Famous

Originally uploaded by marytsao.
The lovely and talented Susan Wagner of Friday Playdate, BlogHer, and now Friday Style thinks I've got style! Hot damn!

She wrote about me over at Friday Style, and when she asked me to provide two sentences about why in the world I post a picture of myself every day, I got all excited and wrote five paragraphs. Talk about me? No problem and thanks for asking!

In a twist that surely must be unique to the blogging world, I now will quote myself on my blog from another blog:

I have learned a lot while doing this project. I love clothes, and I'm no longer embarrassed to admit it. The project has been a great reason for me to put a little bit more care into what I wear, which in turn has helped me feel better about myself on a daily basis. Also, I now very much believe in the "rules" of clothes/wearing clothes that stylists such as Stacy London and Clinton Kelly (of What Not To Wear) dictate. It's not about your body shape; it's about the clothes you wear and how you wear them.

To read more about me from me, go to Friday Style. Heck, go there anyway because--as Susan puts it--"every day should feel like Friday."

Thanks, Susan! Let's go shopping sometime!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Free pancakes on Fat Tuesday

It's Shrove Tuesday also known as Fat Tuesday also known as National Pancake Day.

Because really, pancakes=fat. Makes sense to me! Also, I am completely okay with that.

In honor of this day, iHop Restaurant is giving away free short stacks of pancakes. Woot! They are asking that patrons make a donation to benefit Children's Miracle Network.

One guess where the kids and I are going for lunch today...

Happy Fat Tuesday!

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Monday, February 19, 2007


It's a beautiful day

Emily has this wonderful habit of waking us up every morning by gently exclaiming, "It's a beautiful day!" I love her positive outlook on life, and I'm adopting it for my own. She's right; it's a beautiful day!

We've had beautiful day after beautiful day lately. Certainly the weather has been beautiful with sunny skies, moderate temperatures, and a definite feeling of spring in the air. Yesterday we celebrated Chinese New Year with our family on Mike's side: his dad and mom, sister and brother-in-law and their son, and a longtime friend of the family. We all thought it was supposed to rain, but the day was bright and clear. Instead of trying to do it all, I focused my attention on table decoration and ordered the food from a local Chinese restaurant. My mother-in-law brought a carrot cake and a lemon tart for dessert and for my father-in-law's birthday. She got them at The Buttery in Santa Cruz, and they were delicious.

This morning I went for the longest run I've ever taken; I think it was four miles. I didn't feel tired at all, just energized. I ran to the far side of our subdivision, down to our local shopping center, then up the hill to our house. I enjoy running around my neighborhood because I get to see who is landscaping their yard, who is painting their house, and which flowers and trees are blooming. Right now, the plum trees are blossoming all around our city; a sure sign that spring is upon us.

Other things have been beautiful lately, too. My self-imposed blogging and writing hiatus has freed up time in my life that I've been using to hang out with family and friends, exercise and take better care of myself, and organize long-neglected closets and drawers. Last week I cleaned off the top of my dresser, during which time I had an epiphany about myself and my life. Let me see if I can explain.

Before I cleaned off my dresser, it was home to a collection of crap: old receipts, random items that had no other home, and the like. But after I cleaned it off and organized my perfumes, lotions, personal momentos, make-up, and jewelry, I realized that my dresser is the most personal reflection of my inner self. It holds many of the items that are most personal to me as well as those that I turn to when I want to transform my outward appearance. The epiphany came when I realized that I owe it to myself to keep my dresser clean simply because I am the person who will benefit from my having a clean dresser. So often I keep clean the areas of the house that are shared with others; I want to keep my dresser clean and treat myself as well as I treat other people.

It's a simple concept to realize and an important one, too. Now when I'm standing at my dresser in the morning, deciding which lotion to put on and which necklace to wear, I easily can see the things that are beautiful to me and that I love. The experience definitely helps with my outlook on life, and guess what? It is a beautiful day!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


In a blazer of glory

Leaving for school
Originally uploaded by marytsao.
Emily goes to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays so this morning I dressed her in her Valentine's Day outfit, and Mike dropped her off at school with her box for valentines and a bag of treats and cards for her classmates and teachers. Last night I worried for a tiny second that I was going overboard with the treat bags. Each kid and teacher got a plastic bag that contained a handful of candy-covered kisses and M&Ms and a valentine "signed" by Emily (I signed her name and she did some coloring on each one.)

When I saw what she got from the other kids, I realized that I had no reason to worry. She got lots of treat bags, some elaborate homemade cards, a homemade crayon heart made from melted down crayons, red envelopes filled with chocolate coins, a coupon for a free martial arts class, and a homemade necklace of chocolate bars. All in all, it was a pretty good haul for her first school Valentine's Day.

Oh, and I found her this little red corduroy blazer on the deep discount rack at TJ Maxx. I don't know if I'm grooming her for the boardroom or what, but I can't think of anything cuter than a little girl in a blazer.

Have a great Valentine's Day tomorrow!

Preparing for Chinese New Year

New hat
Originally uploaded by marytsao.
This coming Sunday--February 18, 2007--is Chinese New Year, and we are having Mike's family over to our house to celebrate.

I found a great book at the library by Karen Katz, My First Chinese New Year. The book is a simple introduction to the holiday, perfect for kids and adults like myself. My children are Chinese and I am not, but I still feel some responsibility for creating and nurturing a sense of cultural identity within them. And that goes for *all* of their cultural identities, since they also are part Irish as well as part Italian, too.

This week I'm doing some spring cleaning, which is a way to prepare for the new year. Tomorrow the kids will get their hair cut and they each have a new, traditional Chinese outfit to wear on Sunday. Emily and I went with Tutu to Chinatown yesterday to the Chinese New Year Flower Fair, where we bought the outfits as well as stalks of red gladiolus to decorate the house.

My local Ranch 99 Market (Chinese supermarket) was where I found lots of inexpensive New Year decorations and red envelopes (hong bao) commemorating the year of the Boar. On Sunday we'll give the kids envelopes with money inside.

Mike's dad has promised to cook some of his "famous" dishes and also to teach us how to make them. Mike is going to videotape his dad in the kitchen. I think I also am going to order some food from a local restaurant to round out our menu. I doubt we could have too much food; what's a party without leftovers?

The holiday is primarily a time to visit with relatives and I'm glad that we'll be able to see Mike's family this weekend and that my mom and stepdad are coming out next weekend. The kids are excited, too, and their enthusiasm is a powerful motivator for me.

Friday, February 09, 2007


Becoming THAT mother

Box for valentines
Originally uploaded by marytsao.
Today I did that thing that THOSE MOTHERS do. You know who THEY are: the mother who brings her daughter to a paint your own pottery place and then proceeds to not let her paint her own pottery, the mother who carves her child's pumpkin for entry into the 3rd grade pumpkin carving contest, the mother who makes sure that any homework involving a craft project is done by her, with her child watching as she carefully constructs a miniature replica of whatever historical monument his class last visited.

My assignment was to help Emily decorate a shoe box for her valentines. With the idea that I was "helping," I painted a shoe box red, figuring that I'd turn it over to Emily at that point for stickers and scribbles.

But then I got the idea that I would make a heart stencil and spray paint white hearts all over the box. Emily watched me carefully as I cut out my stencil and got out the spray paint. "Mama, can I...?" "Stand back!" I ordered. "This stuff is toxic!"

After I spray painted the hearts, I brought the box in to dry. While it was drying, Emily wanted to touch it. "No!" I shouted. And then in a softer tone: "It has to dry first."

When the hearts dried, I could tell that the box needed additional adornment and yet I worried about sloppy sticker placement. That's when I realized there was no way I was going to hand over the job of decorating this box to Emily. And as I finished embellishing the hearts with paints and markers, I knew in my heart that I had failed miserably in my first-ever craft project homework assignment.

If the box wasn't so darn cute, I'd be totally hating myself right now. Instead, I'm realizing that it's best not to judge, for one day you might just become THAT MOTHER.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Hallmark mommy

Way back when--before I was a mom--I remember visiting my sister and wondering why in the heck she needed humongous storage containers for holiday paraphernalia. Sure, I could understand Christmas and maybe Halloween, but Easter? Thanksgiving? Valentine's Day? Why did my sister have so much holiday stuff?

At the time I thought she was a little cuckoo, but now I realize that a supreme understanding of all things holiday--whatever the holiday--is merely one small part of being a mom. As a mom, you must always be on alert for holiday items; just because it's February doesn't mean you can hold off until March to buy that green St. Patrick's day T-shirt! By that time, the shelves at Target will be devoid of green things and filled with pastel Easter things. No, it's a mom's job to know far in advance about any and all upcoming holidays and to make sure her kid is prepared for them. My own growing stash of plastic bins labelled Christmas, Halloween, and Miscellaneous reveals that I, too, am learning the ways of living by a calendar developed by Hallmark.

It's not my fault; I put the blame on the school system. From what I can tell, teachers use various monthly holidays to break up the monotony of the school year. It starts in the fall, with lesson plans, decorating, and parties commemorating Halloween, then Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sometimes the Hindu festival Diwali is celebrated and the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

In the spring, we break cupcakes for Martin Luther King Day, Valentine's Day, Chinese New Year, and President's Day. At this point we're only a third of the way through February.

March brings us St. Patrick's Day. March also is Women's History Month. March 2 is Dr. Seuss's birthday, and March 3 is Alexander Graham Bell's Birthday.

April is host to any number of secular festivities commonly referred to as spring flings or eggstravaganzas and usually involving bunny rabbits and egg hunts. April also is the month we learn about Earth Day and Arbor Day.

In May we celebrate Cinco de Mayo and Memorial Day, and if they know what's good for them, many teachers will make sure a Mother's Day craft project makes its way home by the appropriate day (this year it's Sunday, May 13.)

Except for Father's Day, June is a month not surprisingly short on holidays as most kids in the U.S. are out of school on summer break. July 4th is the only holiday in July worth getting excited about, and unless you want to celebrate the day we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, August is a holiday-free month. Of course, that's because in August you're supposed to be on holiday, rather than celebrating one.

And all of this brings me to the point of this post, which is to say that I am slowly but surely mastering Holidays 101. I know this because when Emily's teacher today put a flyer in her cubby announcing the fact that next week each child must bring to school 20 unmarked valentines--additional treats optional--along with a decorated box appropriate for storing received ones, I did not blink an eye. Oh, no. You see, I bought Emily's valentines in December when I saw them on sale at the Sanrio store while Christmas shopping. And two weeks ago I bought goody bags, candy, and ribbon ties. Yesterday Emily got new shoes and--you guessed it--they came in a box appropriate for holding valentines. It's like I was pyschic and knew we would have a need for a shoe box. I have been both consciously and subconsciously preparing for this holiday for weeks, months even!

So I will not be one of those moms you see at the grocery store frantically pawing over the last five remaining boxes of Valentine's Day cards at 7 PM on February 13.

At least, not this year.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Ice cream for dinner and other parenting highlights

Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory
Originally uploaded by marytsao.
I've been spending lots of time with my kids lately, which may seem like an odd thing to write considering I'm a stay-at-home mom. But I've really cut back on my commitments--including blogging and reading blogs--and instead am going to music classes and gym classes and playgroups and field trips. And it's actually been quite a lot of fun.

It's getting easier and easier to be out and about with both kids. Now that Emily's completely toilet trained and Thomas is, um, predictable in his, um, movements, I don't bother carrying a giant diaper bag filled with tons of "just in case" crap. Instead, I throw a diaper or two and a baggy of wipes in my purse and we're good to go. Neither kid needs a bottle and Emily is completely off sippy cups, too. Thomas still prefers one, but is fine with a straw and o.k. with just a cup. For field trips involving lots of walking, I use a cheap umbrella stroller with a buggy board attachment. (We call it the name Emily came up with, the rocket skate.) The kids trade off sitting and standing. For shorter field trips, I don't even bother with the stroller, although I do sometimes end up carrying a screaming and crying Thomas.

It's also more fun to go places with the kids now that they're becoming more interested in the things that we do. They notice everything: airplanes, boats, ants, birds, motorcycles, oncoming traffic, groups of kids, crying babies, flags, interesting smells, carousels, statues, clouds, the list goes on and on. Emily talks almost non-stop and Thomas is rarely at a loss for words. They're always so excited about everything; it's easy to entertain them and to want to introduce them to new things and new places.

I suppose what's not fun is when they pick at each other and fight. "Mommy, Thomas is touching me and that makes me angry!" is a favorite complaint of Emily's. But the fighting is rare. In general, they're good natured and well behaved. I hope they say the same about me one day.

This past Monday Mike went out of town for work and it felt a little bit like a special holiday. Knowing that we didn't have to be home for dinner made our field trip into San Francisco to see the Queen Mary 2 oddly special, like we were skipping school or had called in sick to work when we weren't really sick. You know that feeling you get when life has given you an unexpected gift of stolen time? That's what Monday felt like.

The kids and I played tourist all day and spent tons of money on kitschy souvenirs, snacks, carousel rides, lunch at the Rainforest Cafe, and insanely expensive Ghirardelli Square parking. Because we didn't have to be home at any particular time, the royal WE decided on ice cream for dinner and so we enjoyed sundaes at the Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory. It was the best hot fudge sundae I've ever eaten; there's a reason that place is a popular tourist destination.

So if you notice my absence in the blogosphere and wonder what I'm up to, I might be putting together a floor puzzle of the world or making hand print cards or maybe even eating ice cream for dinner. With these two:

At the piers

Can you blame me?

Saturday, February 03, 2007


Coo coo ca choo choo

Train Town
Originally uploaded by marytsao.
This is turning out to be quite a very nice weekend. Hurray for clear skies and even temperaments! As my new notepaper from Daiso Japan reads, "It is a fine day. The sky clears and we are given a magnificent view."

[Updated to add something that Mike did today that I want to remember: When I was doing my Pilates DVD in the family room, the kids came in and started swarming me like they tend to do. Mike was in the room, too, and even though he had been making fun of the breathing exercises, he realized that maybe having kids hanging off me when I was doing The Hundred was annoying and anti-relaxing, and he made the kids go play in the other room. I appreciated that!]

Today I was all set to take the kids alone to Train Town in Sonoma. Mike had work to do or something. But when he saw us bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and standing at the door with our coats, he had a change of heart and decided to go with us. Of course that made our field trip that much nicer. While I love the company of my kids, I always welcome a field trip companion who can use big words and doesn't need help going to the bathroom.

The roads were clear and we made it to Sonoma in good time. It really is beautiful up there, whatever the season. This time of year the grape vines are bare, but the rolling hills and green countryside make it difficult to believe that California's lush wine country is located only about an hour away from the bustling city of San Francisco.

Sonoma is a great day trip from The City, even if you have kids in tow. If you're visiting with another adult and you're inclined to do some wine tasting, most wineries have lawn and picnic areas where you can mix life's three greatest blessings: kids, food, and wine.

Train Town is located about a mile from downtown Sonoma, on the way into town. It's a small, vintage amusement park that boasts a twenty minute train ride as its main attraction. It's also home to a carousel and a few other carnival-type rides. It's not an expensive place to visit, but there's only enough there to keep a family entertained for an hour or two.

Downtown Sonoma is right down the street from Train Town and is home to shops and a couple of family-friendly restaurants. In the middle of the town square is a park with two playgrounds: one for ages 2-5 and one for ages 5 and up. Oh, and bathrooms. Glorious, public bathrooms!

We didn't go this time, but Sonoma County is also where Safari West is located. We'll probably make that our destination next time we go on a family field trip to whine country. (Sorry, I had to throw that in.)

Tomorrow I'm having lunch with mom friends and then the family is going to a Super Bowl party. If you guessed that I'm bringing Ruffles potato chips and Onion Soup Mix Dip as my appetizer offering, you'd be right. Monday can be the first day of the rest of my diet, right? Go, Bears!

Friday, February 02, 2007


Queen of a week

Wow. Long time, no post. And I'm afraid this is going to be a hurried brain dump of what we've been up to because I have a date to see The Queen this afternoon. BTW, I want to be Helen Mirren when I grow up, don't you?

Last weekend I went on a nice, relaxing weekend all by myself up to Sonoma. It was quiet and peaceful and quite nice. I was very relaxed up until the moment I returned home, when the fact that I am an on-call 24/7 housecleaner hit me smack in the face like a dirty diaper and made me want to turn around and leave for good.

Sometimes all of the cleaning up makes one a tad weary, don't you agree?

Luckily, things got back to normal on Monday and the kids and I had a great time at gym class. Monday afternoon we did various at-home chores and made a big pot of veggie spaghetti sauce. We also made and decorated cupcakes for Emily's half birthday. (Emily's school celebrates a child's half birthday if her actual birthday falls during the summer.)

Mike and I had a huge row on Monday night about chores and respect and other pleasant things. We managed to come to a resolution and then we spent some quality time together watching missed episodes of Battlestar Galactica. If I said that we needed to spend more quality time together, I doubt you'd be surprised. I'm sure most couples feel the same way.

On Tuesday, I send Emily to school in a dress with hearts on it and with two dozen vanilla cupcakes with pink frosting and heart sprinkles. She was so adorable and my heart was bursting with pride and love for my big girl. At school she received a birthday crown and got to pass out the cupcakes to her friends during snack time. She's so cool!

While she was at school, Thomas and I met a friend for coffee. After a pleasant chat that ended when Thomas knocked over a cup of napkins and banana bread crumbs to let it be known that he was done with Starbucks, he and I left to pick up Emily. Later that afternoon the three of us walked to our local park. About a block into our adventure I realized what a mistake it was to think that I would be able to walk at a the pace of a snail without wanting to pull out my own hair. Note to self: Put the kids in the wagon next time!

Rosa came on Wednesday and I spent most of the day catching up on bills, paperwork, and correspondence. Whee. That night the family spent some quality time at our local California Pizza Kitchen and walking around the mall. We lead a very exciting life over here.

Yesterday Thomas and I met up with some friends at a playgroup. After picking Emily up at preschool, we headed up to Serramonte Mall in Daly City to check out this new Japanese housewares store recommended by Jennie. It's called Daiso Japan, and I think this blogger sums it up well when she writes:

15,500 square feet of Japanese!

So what is Daiso Japan? It is row upon row upon row of utilitarian items and tchotchkies with that signature Japanese twist, like cutesy salt and pepper shakers in the shape of huddled bunnies or plaid plastic umbrellas. It is all high quality Made in Japan stuff at bargain basement prices. Mostly everything is $1.50 and nothing is more than $15, says a Daiso spokesperson.

Because we went during the day, the store wasn't too crowded. I'm not sure I'd bring a stroller in there, but they do have carts and even though they're tiny, both the kids fit in one. It's an amazing place. Go if you live around here; you won't be disappointed.

Okay, off to check out my movie. Sayonara!