Adventures In Lala Land

August 28, 2008

For the last two weeks, I’ve had the honor of being a tourist in my own city. Like so many SoCal folks, I moved here five months ago, seeking somewhat of a new start at life. Settling into my Torrance apartment, I promised myself I’d explore the sprawling megalopolis, taking full advantage of all its wonders. I’d learn to surf in the Pacific, Ski on Big Bear…maybe even plunge into Hollywood’s notorious club scene…where I’d be ::melodramatic gesture:: discovered! Because there _had_ to be parts for a chubby, alternative-looking chick out there somewhere, right?!?

I’m sad to report that I haven’t yet been ::melodramatic gesture:: discovered (to think – the world shall never know my bottomless raw talent). Really, after securing my job in Santa Monica, I’ve rarely ventured outside the general area. A brief dip in the ocean is the closest I’ve come to surfing, and the mountains remain lovely regions experienced from the comfortable climate-control of my car. Yet over the past two weeks, I’ve come a bit closer to discovering L.A. Thanks to the presence of my mom, whose return flight to Cleveland took off this afternoon, I’ve visited some fabulous attractions (unfortunately) likely to be ignored by any self-respecting Angeleno.

Sometimes residents of large, well-known cities tend to take pride in being “too cool” to visit “touristy” neighborhoods and attractions. Being open and comfortable with my utter lack of cool, I had no pretense to cast aside. However, even if you do – forgetting where you live and taking a few days as a tourist in your own city can rock. Below, you’ll find a few of the places my mom and I visited during her stay. Both out-of-towners and temporary tourists should have fun checking some of these out. Besides, in this city, we’re all from _somewhere_ else, right?

Image source: wikipedia

1) If you know a kid who digs dinosaurs, or if you’re into paleontology or geology yourself, you’ll probably love the Page Museum and La Brea Tar Pits. The museum houses no dinosaurs, but it holds fossils from more than 40,000 ice-age mammals, birds, and insects. There’s even a stone-age human! Each member in the museum’s collection was excavated from the surrounding oily pits (“La Brea” means “tar” in Spanish, though the pits really hold asphalt). Kids will walk away with plenty of trivia for classmates and teachers (did you know the pits were usually only a few inches deep, and the animals become trapped in place, rather than slowly sinking? I didn’t either.)

In addition to the reassembled mammoths, saber-tooths and the like, there’s an area where curious parties can watch paleontologists at work sorting, scraping and polishing fresh fossils. The tar pits, scattered about the surrounding park, are a stinky experience not to be missed. If you visit on the right summer day, there might even be an in-process dig in Pit 91. I’d recommend the Page Museum for families first and foremost, but kids of all ages will be awed by the tar pits’ preserved denizens.

Image source: wikipedia

2) Prefer French Impressionism to Fossils? No problem. Next door to the Page Museum stands the first class Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Hidden among its sprawling wings are paintings, sculpture, textiles and other treasures form all corners of the globe. My mom and I came here after visiting the tar pits. On a positive note, after 5 PM there’s a pay-what-you-can admission. Unfortunately, as we discovered, there’s no way to see even a tiny fraction of what this museum has to offer in four hours. What we did explore was the LACMA’s excellent Japanese Gallery. The permanent collection is impressive, encompassing an excellect collection of Ceramics, sculpture, and prints from the Middle Jomon period (c. 2000 BC) through the 20th century.

Image source: LACMA

Through September 14th, 2008, the Japanese Pavilion’s featured exhibit is “The Age of Imagination: Japanese Art from 1615-1868. On display are Edo-period Japanese painted scrolls and screens from the collection of Joe Price. I’d highly recommend the exhibit, as well as the LACMA in general. Next time, I’ll just pay full price and spend the day…!

Japanese Garden, Little Tokyo

3) If the Japanese gallery has you jonesing for more modern J-culture, look no further than Downtown LA’s Little Tokyo. Every conceivable Hello Kitty plushie is available here.

Hawaiian themed Hello Kitty with our Tiki The Monkey toy. Aloha!

Seeking that new Polysics or Hikaru Utada CD? You’ll find that here too, along with anime collections and full Gothic Lolita outfits (be still my beating heart!) The area is also home to the Japanese-American National Museum, which chronicles the history of Japanese immigration to California and delves into the horrors of WWII-era discrimination.

When hunger strikes, why not head to Oiwake? It’s L.A.’s first, and I believe only, karaoke restaurant. Nine dollars buys you unlimited karaoke and access to an all-you-can-eat Japanese buffet that’s sure to soak up your liquid courage. Other nightlife options include Bar C, where you’ll be served drinks and tapas by super-kawaii Japanese “French Maids”.

4) Every city has at least one “Little Bohemia” — an area which attracts artists, intellectuels, and plain ol’ nutcases. As a child, it was a bit of a tradition for me to drag my mom into these cesspools of human waste. This time, however, it was her who discovered Venice Beach. Those seeking a fun time in this city to the north of Santa Monica won’t have to look too far. In fact, to be entertained, one need only choose a spot and watch as the endless multi-hued sea of humanity shifts, flows and dances about. It’s the classic California beach-scene from so many movies: The tanned muscle-hulks pump it at Muscle Beach as perfect-10 bikini babes frolic by and buskers ply their trades.

Yes, Virginia, Venice Beach actually has sand and water…

Cool Graffiti Art seen on Venice Beach.

Actually, the area’s buskers are, in my opinion, the heart of the beach. Their acts are far more varied and interesting than mch of what I see in other area of the country. In the few hours I spent along Venice Beach Boulevard, I noticed a man on stilts, dancing about in African war paint and leaves, a South American spirit-dancer in full regalia, and a piano virtuoso who managed to play beautiful, complex pieces without the aid of sheet music. Even a few homeless drunks got into the act — one referred to himself as the “World’s Greatest Wino”, and offered to tell jokes for a dollar. Far more entertaining than the old pitiful cardboard sign standby! My advice: if you like a performer’s act, tip them! The buskers of Venice work long hours in difficult conditions, boldly display their talents, and depend upon your tips for sustenance. Donating a few dollars will help to keep your favorite busker in business.

Jonathan, a Vendor’s Child at Venice Beach, poses.

5) The Queen Mary enjoyed multiple incarnations and adventures before assuming its current station in Long Beach. Larger than the Titanic, the ship began life in 1934 as a British luxury liner. It served as a troopship for the Allied Forces during World War II, but returned to its cruise ship capacity between 1946 and 1967. The Queen Mary has since been overhauled, and now serves as a floating museum and four-star hotel in Long Beach. Tours are available daily from 10 AM – 6 PM, but watch out! Rumor has it the ship is haunted by the spirits of WWII sailors who died at sea.

The Queen Mary’s Ballroom

6) Royalty of a different sort beckons from Arcadia, in the San Gabrial Valley — specifically, all the majesty of the plant kingdom. The 167-acre Arboretum houses plants from around the world, including some you may have thought existed solely in nightmares (look out for the Carnivorous Plants Greenhouse). Among the many specialty gardens here are an herb garden, a floating garden, and a tropical forest.

Cactus with Mickey Mouse ears.

Juniper Trees

Life is just peachy!

As if those weren’t enough reasons to visit, the park also houses its own extended family of peacocks. The Arboretum is open daily from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. and, along with the LACMA, is my top recommendation.

Father peacock

Mother peacock and chick at play.

Although I enjoyed my brief stint as a hometown tourist, it wasn’t 100% perfect. There are some tourist attractions that I recognize as overpriced and overrated — Santa Monica Pier and Tours of “stars’ homes” being standout examples.

Santa Monica Pier

I mean, this is L.A. — celebrity sightings for us are as common as butchered versions of our favorite songs at karaoke — which, in the wake of my mom’s departure, I must be off to.

Tiger (cat): REOW!

Rachel: AFTER I feed Tiger!

Tiger: Darn skippy. Feed me and maybe I’ll let you pet me.

::Rachel feeds Tiger::

Tiger (running off): Sucker!!!

Rachel: In conclusion, don’t shy away from “touristy” attractions in your own city, people! You may be denying yourself a fabulous time — and in this city, even being ::melodramatic gesture:: discovered!

~~By Rachel~~REOW!! ~~AND Tiger…~~

Rachel, off to discover more adventures in LA.

http://www.room-candy.com

Room Candy – always yummy!

Tatu Bunny

August 26, 2008

I am such a big fan of flickr because I get to meet so many new pet lovers from all over the world. Brida Das Fagas, who hails from Portugal, is one my new flickr photo pals, and her bunny Tatu is just too cute for words!

My, what big ears you have!

Mirror, mirror, on the wall…who’s the fairest bunny in the word? That’ll be you, Tatu!

Tatu is also always up for a chess game…look at him, he really looks like he’s deep in concentration!

I’ve had bunnies when I was little, but none of them were ever this cute and this well behaved! I don’t know what breed of rabbit Tatu is, but looking at his pictures, he looks like he’s easily as big as Tiki. And I just love how Tatu’s ears have a life of their own. Makes me nostalgic about how Wally used to have pointy ears when he was a puppy – see?

Wally – 3 months old.

Tatu relaxing on the floor of the dining/living room. I also have to point out that Brida is a fan of shabby chic, and if you look through her flickr photostream, you’ll also be able to take a tour around her shabby chic-tastic house.

Brida’s dreamy bedroom.

What a fantastic tea set collection!

And why am I not surprised that Brida also has a bunny figurine collection? :)

Hop onto Brida’s photostream to see more pictures of Tatu. Thanks for sharing these pictures with us, Brida!

Linny

www.room-candy.com

Room Candy – always yummy!

When people meet me for the first time and hear that my company is called Room Candy, the first question they always ask is, “Oh, so you sell candy?”. I would then have to explain to them sheepishly that it’s actually a dog toy/accessories company, and follow it up with my usual punch line – “Well, I wish I sell candy too!” Brian Pipa, founder of www.candyaddict.com, probably gets the same kind of question every time people hear about his site for the first time, and he has a way cooler answer than mine because even though he doesn’t sell any candy on his site, he and his team of writers get to write about candy on the site every day. Imagine that – a whole site dedicated to the finest food group of all (in my humble opinion!) – candy!

Let’s get to know the Internet version of Willy Wonka, shall we?

Linny (imitating Diane Sawyer’s voice badly): Brian, what was your favorite childhood candy? What is it now?

Brian: Atomic Fireballs. Love them! Now, it’s much harder to say. I have been able to try SOOOO many candies since starting Candy Addict. it’s hard to pick just one. Twix Java, Cinnamon Twizzlers, and Giant Chewy Nerds stand out though.

Image source: Ferrara Pan

Old packaging of Atomic Fireballs. They’ll set your mouth on fire!

Cinnamon Twizzlers.

Twix Java. I used to be uber fanatical about the regular Twix candy – I will have to try this version too!

The easter version of Chewy Nerds. These somehow look like colored dinosaur eggs to me.

Linny: How do people usually respond when they learn that you get to eat candy for a living?

Brian: Well, it’s not really for a living. I have a real 9-5 day job as a software engineer, but when people find out about my “hobby” they usually are very impressed when I tell them about all the free candy I get. :)

Linny: If you can invent your own candy, what would it look and taste like?

Brian: Wow – good question. I’d say something with chocolate, pecans, and caramel. Oh wait, that’s a Turtle isn’t it? I don’t know. I prefer to just try all the candy that other people invent.

Check out this gourmet Belgian chocolate turtle fudge available on www.amyscandykitchen.com! I’m sure Brian would approve of this one!

(Note to self: never write a blog post about candy on an empty stomach because it’s making me very cranky for some candy!)

Linny: Do you think men and women have distinct preferences when it comes to the kinds of candy they eat? (e.g. women liking chocolate type candy, men liking more sweet/sour types)

Brian: I don’t think so. I think tastes vary per person equally regardless of gender. Sweet, sour, chocolate, etc – it doesn’t matter. The cool thing about candy is that EVERYONE likes some type of candy.

Linny: What trends do you see in candy for this year?

Brian: Energy candy is still big and candy that is “healthy” – I don’t see either of those trends slowing down any time soon.

Healthy candy? Hmmm, that sounds like an oxymoron to me, but come to think of it, chocolate is known for its antioxidant properties, nuts are rich in protein, and sugar in general makes me mentally healthy and happy, so I’d have to argue that all kinds of candy is healthy for you if taken in moderation! :)

Extra yummy: Aside from the candyaddict.com site, Brian has also recently launched another site called snackerrific.com, where (you guessed it) you can read up on reviews of various snacks. I don’t know about you, but I’m planning on visiting those two sites before I go to bed every night – that way, I can always end my day on a sweet note!

Linny

www.room-candy.com

Room Candy – always yummy!

One of the perks of walking my dogs is getting to know my neighbors and their dogs that we bump into, and Jill is one of those people that I’ve gotten to know over the years. Jill has a shih tzu called Molly, and she is entirely devoted to this furball! Molly gets two walks daily, and she even has play dates with my other neighbor’s shih tzu Abby. What a life! Jill is also a cat lover, so I visited her house yesterday and got to know the other animals in the household.

Hello, Molly! Molly is eight years old this year and is quite the lady!

A lady always sits with her arms properly crossed!

Oh, it’s not easy being this beautiful.

It’s so funny that Molly always can go from full go-go-go mode to plopping down and tucking in for a quick snooze. She seems to know where all the good spots are in the house too!

This sofa is a good spot.

And who says only cats can enjoy a catnap on a cat tree?

What a ham!

As I mentioned, Jill is a lover of both cats and dogs, and it’s evident by her home decor. Check out these humorous dog and cat paintings!

And cat themed mini teapots!

Talking about cats, this is Misty, a rag doll that Jill adopted seven years ago.

Jill also two other cats named Suzie and Tiger, both which were a little camera shy that afternoon. Misty is a very expressive cat, and she was not shy in expressing her displeasure by all the commotion caused by the humans and the other animals during the photoshoot. I couldn’t help chuckling every time she would pass by me as I was snapping pictures of the other animals and emit a disapproving and drawn out meowl. A very adorable grouch that one!

Misty has her own mini sofa. A pink shabby chic sofa with mini pompom trim on the bottom!

And surprise! Jill told me that she had found three kittens in her backyard born by a feral cat, and has been fostering the threesome for a couple of months now. She would have loved to keep them for herself, but having three cats and Miss Molly (plus a very understanding husband Alex) is quite a handful already, so if you live in the Pasadena/Arcadia area and are interested in adopting any of the kittens, please e-mail Jill directly at jferris392@aol.com. The kittens are currently about 14 weeks. Let’s get to know them a little better, shall we?

This is Claudia, the only girl of the bunch. She is definitely an outgoing kitten, and was the first one to come out and play.

Claudia loves to play with her toys, and is both outgoing and mellow at the same time. Such a lovely gal!

That Pepe Tiger toy looks like someone I know…

Hi, Jerry! Jerry, short for Jeremiah Sunshine, is a little shy at first, but quickly warms up to strangers. Jill told me that Jerry acts as big brother to the two kittens, and Claudia is especially bonded to him. Every night, Claudia will knead her paws on Jerry and they will both cuddle up for the night.

These two adore each other!

What’s that up there?

The other boy in the litter is Casper, and he’s the shyest of the three.

Casper checking out the scene from a safe distance.

Getting closer…

We finally lured him out into the open with a little kitty food.

I guess she’s okay!

Casper’s got the most amazing markings and mesmerizing amber eyes. He reminds me a little of our Leonard the Leopard toy!

Doesn’t it look like a painter took a thick brush and drew across his body with bold black strokes?

Casper’s sitting style is the Tuck, where he curls his four paws under his body.

What a sweet boy! Due to his shyer nature, Jill’s wish is that whoever adopts Casper would also adopt either Claudia or Jerry so that it will make the transition for Casper easier. I think it just takes a little patience with this handsome guy. I was only at Jill’s place for a couple of hours, and within that time, Casper was already comfortable being in the same room with me and playing a couple of feet away.

Towards the end of my visit, all the kittens were pooped and settled down for a catnap.

Claudia settled for the top of the cat tree.

She looks like she’s having a good dream!

Jerry’s favorite toys. Jill had given Jerry the small white bear on the left as a sleeping companion when he was smaller, so he has a special affinity to white furry things. What a coincidence, I had brought our white oodles of poodles donut bed with me as a gift, and I decided to see how Jerry would like it.

What is this giant white bear?

Oooh, it is as soft as my favorite teddy bear!

Getting sleepy….

Okay, Pepe, you take the right side of the bed and I’ll take the left.

Awwww!!!

I think this is the best photo I’ve ever taken! I’ve read somewhere that all cats are photogenic, and I have to agree! It is impossible for Jerry to take a bad picture!

Even with the camera in his face, Jerry drifted off to sleep again.

Closeup of Jerry’s pink paw pads.

How can you possibly resist this boy?

Sweet dreams, Jerry!

Again, if you live in the Pasadena area and are interested in any of these kittens, please e-mail Jill directly at jferris392@aol.com. Claudia, Casper and Jerry already have their kitten shots and are litter box trained. They are also good with other cats and calm dogs like Molly. I will also give a free bed compliments of Room Candy to each of the lucky families who adopts these special kittens so they will be set for their new homes. Please pass the word to your friends and family about these kittens!

Linny

www.room-candy.com

Room Candy – always yummy!

I was browsing through my local toy store recently and found this Magic Garden crystal kit.

Image source: Schylling Toys

Oh my gosh, I used to looooove this kit when I was a kid! Of course, the one I played with was the single tree version, where you basically put a paper card shaped like a tree trunk into a shallow dish of the crystal solution, wait an hour or so, and voila! Instant crystal blooms!

This version is certainly more elaborate with the mountains and hedges and pink trees. Hold on, did I just end that sentence with just a period? Let me do a mulligan. Blah, blah….and PINK TREES!!!!!! I shall have to document the process so that I can savor the pinkness. Here are the shots I took of the kit over a period of six hours. I actually made a flipbook on Photoshop that I wanted to post here so that you get the cool National Geographic style time lapse effect in fifteen seconds, but alas, wordpress is not letting me upload the flipbook file, so here are all thirty pictures in sequence. If you just scroll down the page real fast, hopefully you’ll get the idea!

Ready? Scroll!

Cool, right? I suppose this is an homage to Japan’s Mt. Fuji and the country’s iconic pink cherry blossom trees. Did you know that on our cherry toy, there is an embroidery of cherry blossoms as well?

Real life cherry blossoms’ blooming period only lasts for a week, but our cherry toys are pretty hardy!

Closeup pics of the crystal version. So pretty!

So if you can’t travel to Japan for the annual Hanami Festival (flower viewing festival) or Washington DC for a similar National Cherry Blossoms Festival, you can at least get the Magic Garden kit here and enjoy a little flower appreciation day right at home!

Linny

www.room-candy.com

Room Candy – always yummy!

Spurned Again!

August 20, 2008

I am so excited to have a new writer for our blog! Everyone, meet Rachel Roth. I got to know Rachel after she wrote a post about our felt charms and dessert themed toys on www.snackerrific.com (click here for the review), and we hit it off right away with our mutual love for everything cute and kawaii, so I just had to ask her to freelance for our Room Candy blog. Rachel also owns a cat named Tiger (the name says it all!), and if we’re especially lucky, Tiger may occasionally pop in and give us her feline take on things. So without further ado…take it away, Rachel!

Linny

_______________________________________

Rachel:

I spent my weekend in eager anticipation. One might ask “why?” Was I invited to a hot party in Vegas with the Hiltons? Am I a contender on Season 8 of “American Idol”? The answers are, sadly, “no” and “no”. However, I _did_ return home Saturday afternoon to find a Fedex tag on my door. This could only mean one thing: my newest gift for Tiger had arrived in the mail!

Practically breathless, I raced to the apartment office. ..only to find it closed. I was crestfallen. This meant I’d have to wait until Monday to make my latest plea for Tiger’s affections! I tried to assure myself that, once Tiger saw what I had in store for her this time, the ice queen would be furry putty in my hands.

Monday reared its ugly head all too soon, but thoughts of my soon-to-blossom relationship with Tiger made my workday at Ye Olde Mini-storage fly by. During my lunch break, I called Mike to make certain Tiger’s bed was retrieved from its holding place. I practically floated down the 405 at work’s end…Tiger was going to accept me, at long last! What cat in her right mind could resist a soft, luxurious cushion-bed?

Flying up the stairs and flinging open my door with nary a thought, I found a suspiciously large package awaiting its opening. Tiger was lying in one of her usual spots, apparently indifferent to both myself and the box.

Tiger in her comfy corner.

I made a friendly gesture, giving her a quick pet and trying to pique her curiosity.

“What do you think is inside?” I asked. “Could it be yarn? Maybe a new scratching post?” I swear the feline diva’s ears perked up at that, but it didn’t take long for her careful nonchalance to return. Withdrawing a kitchen knife, I approached the cardboard treasure chest and made my first cut.

Cutting through the package tape, I was delighted to find not one, but _two_ blue nest beds, one an oval “poodle-fur” variety and the other of the “jewel-tones” rectangle variety. Both were suitably soft and fluffy, not to mention, of course, gorgeous. Perfect for an afternoon nap. Certain Tiger would agree, I tracked her to a hiding nook behind a pile of clothing, and urged her in the general direction of the beds.

Tiger walked right by. Apparently, either she hated my guts or the idea of a bed/nap didn’t appeal to her. I reasoned that adding catnip might lure her in for awhile. Two days have passed since the beds’ arrival, and in an act of desperation, I actually _have_ sprinkled the “jewel-tones” bed with a fine dusting of the ostensibly irresistible herb. Thus far, Tiger has remained stand-offish and resolute…but mark my words…eventually, I will win her heart.

Comfortable Right here, thank you.

I shall NOT let you see me in those beds!

Tiger:

Reow!! That She-Devil’s really painting me in a negative light today (Literally, see above meow)! Let me set you straight – I’m not all bad – I’m really quite friendly if I like you. Just ask my human boyfriend, Mike (purrrr).

Yes, this bed is VERY comfortable…

I’m attractive to boot, and so I reserve the right to be selective with my friends (MeOW!)

Really, Rachel is sooo not my type – unless she has yummies for me, or fun boxes for me to scratch. If I had no use for her at all, I’d make Mike kick her out. Us kitties are quite skilled in interspecies communication, when we need to be ::purr, hiss, scratch, cuddle, lick:: See?

The Devil-Lady’s making it sound like I don’t appreciate her beds. I _do_ love one of them. The one with fur appalls me. It looks like a DOG (hiss)! God, how I despise those stupid, filthy beasts! But I digress.

The other bed; the unfurry one is lovely. Actually, I spent most of the other day napping in it (mew mew). Devil-Lady was gone for the day, so I figured there was no harm in settling down and tuning out for a bit. I was lost in a blissful, soft oblivion when all at once, the door snapped open. It was Devil-Lady – with the older, louder Devil-Lady who’s been around for the last week! I was seen (row)!

Still waking up, I was temporarily paralyzed – and embarrassed. Not only had the two undesirables seen me on the bed – the older one started LOUDLY commenting on it, while the original one withdrew the flashy device – I know what was coming. I made like a bird (mmm…bird…) and FLEW. Oh well…human beds may not be as cute, but they’re bigger and therefore better, right?

Today, Devil-Lady refuses to leave. I’ve tried ignoring her. Even when she poured me a pack of delicious fish-mush, I stayed in my corner. Now she’s sprinkled catnip all over my comfy nap-bed (puuurrrrrr…) but no!! I must NOT give in! I know what she wants to do! She’s trying to flash at me again and steal my soul!

…Yet the bed…and the catnip…soooo tempting…

~~By Rachel (and Tiger)~~

http://www.room-candy.com

Room Candy – always yummy!

I Love Ikea!

August 19, 2008

Ikea ranks as one of the top five companies I admire greatly – not only because they have such an amazing array of products, their ability to innovate and continuously come up with great designs at unbelievably low prices is enviable. I just received my new Ikea catalog the other day and wanted to check out the items myself, so I made the pilgrimage to the one in Burbank, CA yesterday afternoon. Here are the products that caught my eye. You should grab yourself some refreshments and a light snack – this post is gonna take a while to go through!

Look, it’s a cherry patterned sofa! What can I say, even Ikea knows that cherries are timeless!

Gotta have matching cherry curtains to go with those cherry sofas.

How cute are these side tables? The one thing I love about Ikea is how bold they are with their colors, and so spot on with that bright yellow! The curve and stance of these table legs kind of look like those of a french bulldog’s.

Photo credit: wikipedia

See what I mean? A few of my retail customers have french bulldogs themselves, and these compact dogs are adorable in person. They are really sturdily built and very muscular, but they tend to waddle when they walk because they have a wide stance. So cute! No wonder there is usually a long waiting list for a french bulldog puppy!

Entrance to the kids section. This is easily my most favorite section of Ikea because kids just get the coolest furniture (so unfair!). Or it could be because in Burbank, the Ikea kids section is right next to the cafeteria!

Frogs and dragons and mice, oh my!

Aqua themed mobile.

And fishies in every color!

Red air balloon mobile with little plushies in the basket. Someone help me call a doctor because I’m overwhelmed by all these cuteness!

Glowing night lamps in the shape of ghosts. They are also squishy to the touch – too clever!

Our scully toy is spooky cute too. I wonder if he’ll make a good night lamp?

Whaddaya think? :)

Plush finger puppets. You get ten different styles per pack – what a great deal!

Penguin dining set. The clear blue plates even have air bubbles trapped inside them.

A seal top that doubles as a ski mask? Awesome! I’ll have to try this look with our penguin toy using a tube sock soon!

Frog themed dining set kits. Now your kids can go ribb-eat like a frog!

And now we’ve come to the toy section.

Whale, what do we have here?

Hello, Foxy Mama!

This bulldog means business!

Same with this beaver!

I bet this rat toy can smell the yummy food in the cafeteria right next door!

Give those prince charmings a kiss!

But watch out for that bug in his mouth. :)

I first thought the winged frog toy was related to Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit characters, but I guess not. I’ve never really read her books, but her watercolor illustrations are so full of personality. No wonder they are so well loved!

Free Beatrix Potter desktop wallpapers found here.

Ikea also has crocodile plushes galore.

Tiny crocodile plushies with red polka dots. My two nephews recently came down with the chicken pox – I should have gotten them these crocodile plushies to cheer them up!

JUMBO crocodile bolster…

…and the life sized, JUMBO-JUMBO crocodile plush! This plush is over five feet long!

Saw this on the floor of the toy playground/showcase area. Hey, there’s a kid wandering around with his left croc slipper missing!

Now that you have your arms full of Ikea stuff, where to store them?

You could use these colorful hanging net bins which also come in mini sizes.

My personal pick has to be these mini storage bins in the perfect shade of pink.

Phew! Walking through Ikea was quite a workout – time for those swedish meatballs with tart lingonberry jam! A lot of the products you see are available on the Ikea website, although most of the plushes are only available in the physical stores. You know how the Room Candy’s company slogan is “always yummy!”? If you apply that same concept to Ikea, then it would read: Ikea – So Swede!

Linny

www.room-candy.com

Room Candy – always yummy!

Lucky Number Eight

August 18, 2008

I bet if Michael Phelps gets a dollar for every time his name is mentioned by someone, he would easily be a millionaire this past weekend! I’m one of the many who’s been on pins and needles this past week watching his every race in pursuit of eight gold medals, and even when I cheated and found out beforehand that he had won race number “x” in the late afternoon via the internet, I would still watch the same race later on at night on TV and cheer like a maniac when he was in the water. What an amazing feat indeed! Not that the guy needs any more accolades thrown his way, but here’s a Room Candy tribute to his amazing accomplishment.

Count them – eight goldfish!

And let’s not forget about Darra Torres, who got an impressive three silver medals herself! Silver may be second place in the olympics, but considering that she beat dozens of swimmers half her age, I say she should consider those three medals as platinum, which is worth more than gold!

Three silver sharks

Thank you, Michael and Darra, for providing a week’s worth of such high entertainment for us all. Well worth the few dark circles under my eyes for staying up late every night watching the olympics!

Linny

www.room-candy.com

Room Candy – always yummy!

Itsy Bitsy Spider

August 18, 2008

I was doing some cleaning around the house a couple of days ago, and look what I found nestled against the wall next to my front door…

It’s a Mama spider with four egg sacs, and that cluster you see on the top are actually spiderlings. I’ve noticed the Mama spider with the egg sacs (they’re the size of small cherry pits) for a week or so, but this was the first time I noticed the little ones. Ah, perfect time to practice some macro photography!

Closeup of Mama Spidey. What pretty tile-like patterns she has on her body! It looks so much like a seashell – in fact, my sister and I used to collect seashells when we were younger (we still have a few of our collections somewhere in our parents’ house), and I had quite a few seashells that had a similar pattern. After some searching online, I found a picture of that particular type of seashells (called Textile Cone seashells – how appropriate!).

Image source: Seashell World

Who knew spiders and seashells can have such cool body patterns? Back to the Mama spider. I have to be honest, aside from Daddy Longlegs and Black Widows, I don’t know my spider types and usually just categorize them as small, medium or EEEEYYIIIIIKES!!! Anyhoo, thanks to the wondrous world wide web, I found out that Mama Spider is an Achaeranea, or a Common House Spider. Well, I can’t call her that – it sounds too…um…common. No, I’m not naming her Charlotte either (too obvious); I will call her Shelly. Because she looks like a seashell. Yes, you can roll your eyes if that was too cheesy. :)

These spiderlings are super, super tiny! There has to be at least a hundred of them, and each of them are only slightly fatter than the “.” that you see here on the page – legs and all. So here’s what they would look like all lined up:

……………………………………………………………………………………….

If spiders can dance, they would totally make an awesome dance crew! Just imagine what kinds of routines they can do with that many bodies.


Notice that the egg sac has the remains of an insect? Ooh, a little morbid, but I guess those baby spideys have to eat something, right?

Awww, they look just like Shelly!

When I checked back with Shelly today, her second egg sac has hatched. Congratulations, Shelly! You’re the new proud Mama of another hundred spiderlings!

Extra yummy: I couldn’t help browsing around the Seashell World website where I found the Textile Cone seashell picture, and found this one that they also sell on the site:

Candy Cane Snail Sea Shells! Really, that’s the official name of these seashells. Sweet! I thought the description on the site was just too funny:

Candy Cane Snail Sea Shells – Please note that color quality varies from sea shell to sea shell. Measures approx 1. 5″. Please Note: This shell is not an edible item. Its a natural shell from the ocean. It gets its name due to its color.

Linny

www.room-candy.com

Room Candy – always yummy!

Paint By Numbers

August 16, 2008

Back in the day when I was going to school in Singapore, we would have mandatory arts & crafts classes which were great because it’s basically a scheduled hour of playing with colored crayons/pencils/paints and enjoying one’s creative side. I don’t know why companies don’t do a mandatory “arts & crafts” hour with their employees once in a while – maybe it’ll cut down on employees’ stress levels! By the way, at Room Candy, I usually take the crew out for a nice meal every so often because that’s how we lower our stress levels. Especially if there is dessert to look forward to at the end of the meal. :)

Talking about arts & crafts, these are Paint By Numbers kits I found at Michael’s (only $1 each!), so I thought I’ll make an afternoon activity out of it.

Puppies and kittens!

You even get a practice paper to perfect your brush strokes!

So I gathered up my bowl of water, popped in a movie into the DVD player, and was all gung ho about creating a mini poster of a puppy.

Look, it’s my Martha Stewart moment!

….fifty-five minutes later….

Okay, I give up! The problem with this activity was not the paint by numbers part, it’s just that for $1, the paint that comes with the kit ain’t exactly easy to paint with. The plain water could not really dissolve the glob of dried up paint no matter how hard I agitate the paint glob with a toothpick, not even when I tried using hot water.

Let me start over. I was mulling painting the puppy with crayons, but at this point, this art project is more complicated than it is relaxing! Let’s see, what’s relatively easy to draw? How about our cherry toy?

Forget the bowl of cherries, I’m just going to do that one cherry by itself!

Step 1: Get yummy colored crayons

Step 2: Draw outline of cherry and fill in primary colors

Step 3: Use darker colors for shading and experiment with different colors to make the drawing pop

You can see I kind of screwed up the shape of the second cherry, but no worries, I will redeem this drawing with a happy background and an authentic signature!

Ta-da! It’s real art imitating a “fake” cherry toy that’s imitating a real cherry – it’s the circle of art!

Linny

www.room-candy.com

Room Candy – always yummy!