Candy and Bagel doing better!

Back in March, Candy and Bagel had a big fight and Candy got hurt badly. This was her 4th time getting hurt by Bagel’s sudden lashing out, and we just didn’t know what else to do.

Bagel is a very calm, submissive dog. He never barks, never pulls on our walks, he gets walked 3 times a day, given plenty of training and games, along with treats. He never jumps on our bed or mess with our stuff. The only things that we have to be careful about is leaving out trash (he loves going through the trash).

But Bagel is very protective of his food. Never from us, we can do whatever we want with his bowl or him when he’s eating and he stays calm. But when another dog approaches him too eagerly, or comes to sniff his food, he snaps. It’s never a long fight; always very brief, and he snaps.

We tried 2 different trainers and both basically said the same thing. It’s his personality, and he is otherwise a very well trained dog. We can try to desensitize him but trying to make him socialize with strange-dogs is like putting an extremely shy kid on a stage in front of a large crowd and tell him to sing.

The good thing is that Candy is never afraid of him. She was a bit scared of him after her first fight with him, but she is a very dominant Chihuahua. She got over it after a few days and she’s ok with him. We’re very thankful that 99% of the time, They are good together.

These were taken throughout 2 days. I would like to think that my hand crochet rug is bringing them closer.

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Vancouver recap

Vancouver!

My husband and I traveled to Vancouver, BC for his birthday! We had so much fun, and doggies, especially Candy, had a marvelous time themselves at their boarding places.

<Day 1>
Headed for the John Wayne airport by 5am for our 7:30am flight. Got on the plane and then was held up at the gate for 2 hours due to a mechanical problem which turned out to be nothing. Missed our connecting flight by 3 minutes because the SFO gate agent closed the door earlier. Was on Standby for the next flight and luckily got on it.
Arrived in Vancouver. Vancouver Airport was probably the most beautiful airport I have ever seen. There were waterfalls, totem poles, and trees. Took the Canada Line Skytrain to Downtown Vancouver. We stayed at the Sutton Place Hotel on Burrard street but didn’t want to change station so we got off at the City Centre (note: Marty and I kept making fool out of ourselves saying “hey they spelled ____ wrong!”) and just walked over to the hotel via Robson.

The rest of the day was a smooth sailing. The very first thing we did was to get a hot dog at the Japadog stand, which was RIGHT in front of our hotel. Literally, same block. It was amazing. (NOTE: during this trip, I decided to try eating gluten again. I took Pepcid AC religiously to control any kind of stomach symptoms I might get. Other than some bloating issue and exhaustion, I didn’t feel sick! But yes, now I’m fully back on gluten free mode again).

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We found some great restaurants on Robson, walked to the Pacific Centre shopping mall and looked around, took some pictures of the scenery, bought some snacks at London Drugs, then walked over to the west sideof the Robson for some Asian food.

We were originallly looking for Benkei Ramen but I guess it’s gone now because we couldn’t find it. Instead, we found Dinesty Chinese Restaurant, which from the outside reminded us of Din Tai Fung in Taiwan. We weren’t disappointed. Well, I was–because I realized how much fun I have been missing out, having to be on a gluten free diet! :D

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We were pretty exhausted after dinner so we just walked back to the hotel and immediately fell asleep. I for one had an amazing night of sleep, I slept through the night, and woke up aroung 6:30am without the alarm.

 

<Day 2>
We woke up pretty early around 6:30, slowly got ready for a day of fun. We decided to stay at the West Side of the city, and check out Granville Island.

After we got coffee at Cafe Artiggiano, we got some chocolate cake and liquid chocolate at Thierry’s, then we walked on Burrard and Hornby towards the Island, took the Aquabus to the Grandville Island ($5.50 per person for a roundtrip).

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We looked aroundn the Public Market, then slowly walked over to the Kitsilano Beach area which was a beautiful walk! We passed by the Marine Museum, and took so many photos there. It was a relaxing walk and seeing so many dogs around the beach neighborhood made us miss Candy & Bagel. But we knew they were being taken care of–Bagel is loved by everyone at the animal hospital and we know that Candy was having an awesome time at the Bone Adventure because we were watching her on the webcam every few hours. :D

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We walked around the Kits Beach neighborhood, then walked back to the Island. We had lunch at Go Fish. I got 2 cods & chips, while Marty tried their Oyster Poboy. The ordering was pretty quick but the wait for the food was about 30~40 minutes. But it was worth the wait! Totally recommend that place if anyone is going to hang out near the Grandville Island.

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The Island itself was fun too–we looked at so many cool arts and crafts, I even bought some silk rovings from the Silk Weaving Studio.

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We came back to the hotel and got dinner at Sushi Mart and a Belgian waffle at Nero on Robson (Again, this area on Robson had so many good Asian food choices).

Marty fell asleep around 10, but I stayed up until 1AM to work on my lace shawl. Totally failed to finish it on the trip, but will be available soon! :D

<Day 3>:
We woke up again around 7 am. The plan was to check out Chinatown and Gastown, and Yaletown. We took the train to the Science Centre-Main Street station (The Skytrain doesn’t stop there anymore; you have to take Train2Main or something like that). I thought we were gonna walk on Main all the way to Chinatown from there, but Marty just wanted to take pictures of the Pacific Centre Station. So we walked around there for 5 minutes, then took the same train back to Waterfront.

We had our morning coffee at Revolver in Gastown, walked to Sun Yat-Sen Garden, looked around there, walked through Chinatown and randomly walked into the busiest Chinese food cafe called “Newtown” to get some buns, egg tart, and sesame ball. DELISH! I think the food here is better than in LA. Food in LA, even at really good restaurants, food tastes “cheap” compared to food in Vancouver. The LA food tastes like Costco food!!!

Then we walked back to Gastown, stopped at a restaurant called Tuc, and got some beautiful waffles with blueberries and cream cheese. Marty got a Lamb & Egg skillet which he said was great.

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So this is how crazy Vancouver food is. When Marty has good food, he says “it’s not bad,” tilts his head to one side and nods a couple times. During our past 7 years together, Marty only had GREAT food maybe 10 times total. When he has really great food, he would first close his eyes then breathes in deeply as if he just had a heart attack. On this trip, he did that twice. Once at Dinesty, and then again at Tuc. At other places, he still said the food was really good. Never once he has said, “not bad” and nodded twice.DSC05087

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We walked back to the Waterfront Station and decided to walk to Stanley Park. We overestimated our fitness level and underestimated the size of this “PARK” because everything else in Vancouver was so close. We barely made it to the Totem Pole, turned around for “The Girl in Wet Suit” or something, took the pedestrian trail back to the info center. FAIL.

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But on the way back from Stanley Park back to the hotel was a great one. The weather was perfect and the cherry blossom trees were everywhere. This was exactly why we took the trip to Vancouver, and were worried about the bad weather but it was perfect all 2.5 days!

It has been a week since we got back and we’re still talking about how great the food was and how much we wanna visit again (a bit of honesty here, we actually looked into moving there!).

wanabelle100: The Story Behind my online ID

A couple of weeks ago, I found an interview on MarlyBird’s podcast with Sarah Wilson, aka The Sexy Knitter. Sarah is one of the co-moderators I work with on the Designer forum on Ravelry.

Sarah’s interview was heavy on the topic of how she came to be The Sexy Knitter and women’s body issues in general.

As you probably know already, I have a lot to say about women’s sizes in America. (and I know, my opinion is not always the “popular” one.)

I had to work very hard to feel ok with my size (note that I used “ok” as oppoased to “accept” or “good”).

Sarah’s interview gave me the courage to share my story on why my online alias has always been “wanabelle100,” and how it came to be.

About 10 years ago, I was away from home for college. I have always been very conscious about my size and dieting, thanks to starting ballet at a very young age. My first weightloss diet was when I was 7 because my dance teacher said that I was too big for my age. I grew up thinking that I was fat, and that I had to constantly diet, unless I hit that certain number on the scale. I was good in school, but the best compliment for me was my relatives commenting on how much weight I lost.

So when I was in college, I felt like I had the control over my dieting. And I went crazy with it.

For 2.5 years that I was in college, I constantly starved myself and tried numerous diet pills. I joined the largest pro-Ana websites at the time (now defunct) and needed a completely new online identity to hide behind. I couldn’t chance my family and friends find out about what I was doing.

So I came up with wanabelle100 = wanna be belle (pretty) 100. The number 100 represented 100% and 100 lbs, which to me at the time was the perfect number for me. This concept of becoming “perfect” was important to me. I felt really good working towards a goal, and felt almost superior that I was managing to do this while people around me “failed.”

I think those 2.5 years were the PEAK of my dangerous dieting. When I graduated and moved back home, I couldn’t do that much anymore because 1) my mom cooked for me and 2) I hit the rock bottom and was really sick. I slowly began to think that maybe there was something wrong with my way of thinking about my body and that I wanted to change. I finally felt that maybe I didn’t have the complete control over my dieting… Instead, the dieting took control over ME.

The journey wasn’t easy. Changing my way of thinking was that hardest and the longest part of the journey. Several times in the past 10 years, I have gone back to my old dangerous habits, and each time regretted it and each time got harder.

And why did I keep my alias? I’m not sure… I think a part of me has always thought that the wanabelle100 side of me was the superior side–someone who is in complete control and disciplined. Another part of me missed the old days when I felt like I was in control. The rest of me wanted to keep reminding myself of my past. There are still many pro-Ana websites and I’m still involved. I’m happy to say that I haven’t gone back to my dangerous habits in the past 2 years. It is a constant battle, and every “clean” year is an accomplishment.

But I feel that this year, my last year as a 20-something, is a good time to put an end to my past, and move onto the new chapter of my life. It has been a life-changing 10 years, I have learned a lot, but I also don’t want to dwell on my past too long and get stuck.

I am slowly making changes to my online identities. For example, I have changed my blog’s name to JDKnitter few years ago. Few weeks ago, I changed my Ravelry ID from wanabelle100 to JeanChungDesigns. My twitter handle is still wanabelle100 but I’m moving on to my new business venture, Candy+Bagel and created a new handle @candybagel on Twitter, and @candyandbagel on Instagram.

I’m making amends and becoming more and more comfortable forgiving my past and letting go of my anger and shame.

New spinning wheel & Valentine’s

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My new Schacht Ladybug arrived on Thursday!  I ordered one right after the winter TNNA.

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My ladybug is on the right foot. I can’t get over how cute this wheel is. And how smooth it spins. It took me 2 minutes to assemble the whole wheel because the entire wheel comes assembled in its custom box. All I had to do was attach the treadles. What a contrast to my first wheel on which I spent 2 days finishing and assembling.

For the test drive, I chose this Malabrigo Nube roving:

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See, Malabrigo is so beautiful but this roving was all compressed and almost felted, making pre drafting a must. I always predraft anyway since I like to spin very very thin.

This and my new spinning wheel and super high speed whole =

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I am in love. What a perfect Valentine’s day gift to myself it was :)

My husband didn’t do so bad himself either. He sent me flowers and chocolate when I was at work.

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Ane now, on to the 3-day weekend!

NEW: Snowflake Shawl

 

 

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As promised yesterday, I just released this new shawl/cape pattern on Ravelry and Craftsy.

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Last year, I really wanted to design a cool cape design that still embodies the inspiration I got from Downton Abbey. Plus, California was uncharacteristically cold and wet; perhaps I was up earlier than most people going to work at 3 am.

I sketched and drafted this pattern on the metrolink, while commuting to work. I knitted a prototype/test sample in aran weight yarn but was not happy with the yarn choice or the finished product. I knew I wanted the general design to be still feminine and romantic but wanted the fabric to be slightly more dense and heavier.

Up close and personal:

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C’mon. I know that you have this yarn somewhere in your stash!

It’s none other than Bernat Natural Alpaca Blend in Natural. I know, an acrylic blend? I knew that if I wore this outside, I would get it dirty somehow. I also wanted it to be easily washed in the washing machine. Then I added a laceweight mohair/acrylic blend yarn from Universal Yarns, and held the two yarns together for this marled effect.

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I also re-did the collar 3 times in the first prototype to get it right. At first, I wanted it to be asymmetric and with a button closure. It didn’t fit right.

So I frogged and did it in 1×1 rib but it didn’t look right either. It was kind of soft and drapey, which didn’t look right with the look I was going for in my head.

I made the collar in double thickness, so that it will stand right and hold the overall heavy/dense look.

Now, I didn’t really know what to call this. I had a choice between a CAPE and a Shawl, and went with a Shawl since I wanted it to be something you just grab and throw on for a quick walk with your doggies or a lunch date. SHAWL with a COLLAR. =)

So there you go people. I published this pattern on Ravelry as well as Craftsy.

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Craftsy, take me to Snowflake Shawl page.

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Ravelry, take me to Snowflake Shawl page.

Preview: Snowflake Shawl

I just finished the draft of my first pattern of 2014!

I’m very excited, and this is something I designed a year ago but finding the right yarns and gauge took some time. Then it got too warm to publish it so just this month, I finally finished the draft of the pattern.

I’ll be publishing it on Monday morning, but here is a PREVIEW.

Snowflake Shawl

Snowflake Shawl