A Few Things

March 14, 2014

ferry building and fiat

Image and text by Gabrielle.

Hello, Friends. We made it through another week — and some of us did it with a time change! Good job, everyone. I think we all deserve a really good weekend. : ) Maude has a track meet on Saturday, but other than that, we’re keeping things low-key. I’m sure there will be errands as usual, some work on the house (an electrician is coming on Saturday morning), and I’m hoping we can explore a new restaurant or two.

Last Friday, for Ben Blair’s birthday we took a food tour of The Mission district of San Francisco with some friends. Our second stop on the tour was a Vietnamese market where we ate a couple of different kinds of Bahn Mi sandwiches. They were my first bahn mi and I can’t stop thinking about them. So dang good! All week, we’ve been asking friends and neighbors for bahn mi recommendations here in Oakland, so we have a source closer to home. I think we’ll scope out a few places this weekend and see if we can find a favorite. How about you? Any fun plans?

While I finish up my work for the week, here are a few things I’ve wanted to share with you:

- Legos for Good. Thanks, Yvonne.

- Genius! Ping pong ball café lights.

- Maude found this one: What Languages Sound Like to Foreigners.

- An art collection + 3 kidsThanks, Allysha.

- I’m not bossy. I’m the boss.

- How Anthropologie searches out cool products in Africa. Thanks, Jeannine.

- A cozy nursery in an unusually shaped room.

- I love the idea of making 3 specific spring goals.

- Happy Pi Day!

- Are public schools disappearing?

- Colin Powell’s selfie from 60 year’s ago.

- Tiny, adventurous Mini-Fig photographers. Love this! Thanks, Leah.

- St. Patrick’s Day is on Monday! I shared these last week, but I’m re-sharing in case you missed — 7 cute St. Patrick’s Day crafts for kids. Plus, 11 really good recipes for your St. Patrick’s Day dinner!

I hope you have a happy weekend. I’m wishing you wonderful weather. I’ll meet you back here on Monday. I miss you already.


P.S. — The photo at top is from a mid-week date I had with my sisters, Jordan and Liz. One of the best things about our move to Oakland is getting to meet those two for lunch.

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Giulia March 14, 2014 at 11:44 am

After reading the bossy piece, you might be interested in this article.
Have a great weekend!


2 Design Mom March 14, 2014 at 4:30 pm

Thanks for the link, Giulia. I’ll take a look. The title has me very curious!


3 Zoe - SlowMama March 14, 2014 at 11:56 am

I’ve had Vietnamese food on many occasions, but never a Bahn Mi sandwich and would love to try one.

I’m all for the spirit of the Ban Bossy project, but banning a word to address the greater issue of girls’ leadership development? Not a fan. Wrote my own blog post about it this week: http://goo.gl/AFXFwt

So jealous you get to hang with your sisters… wish mine lived closer!


4 Design Mom March 14, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Looking forward to reading your post, Zoe! The campaign is really getting some strong reactions.


5 Shannon March 14, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Thank you for your post, Zoe. I’ve been feeling a bit guilty for not embracing the “Ban Bossy” movement, so I appreciate how well you’ve articulated what I’ve been thinking. And, like you, I understand what the movement is trying to do, but think there are other ways to accomplish that goal. And perhaps because I’m a mother to boys AND girls, I like to focus on causes that help make better people across the board.


6 Laura March 14, 2014 at 12:15 pm

Funny you should mention Banh Mi! My sister sent me this recipe link earlier this week. (http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/pork-meatball-banh-mi) I made the carrot/daikon “slaw” as a side dish on Monday. My husband ate all of it that night!


7 Design Mom March 14, 2014 at 4:29 pm

The daikon made the sandwich! So good.


8 Jeanie March 14, 2014 at 12:19 pm

I highly recommend banh mi sandwiches from Cam Huong Cafe on International Boulevard in Oakland. They also have a branch in Oakland chinatown, which opened before this cafe, but the cafe has seating as well as parking across the street. We also highly recommend their grilled chicken,both the sticks as well as the one with the skin and bone. (We don’t usually eat chicken that has skin on it, but we love the flavor of the meat of this one. It’s something our kids never tire of.) The price is fantastic and we always get several to go and eat them on picnic or hikes. Pair it with a hike to the Sibley Volcanic Preserve or Huckleberry in the Oakland hills and you’ll have a perfect east bay weekend.

This is my favorite place because they also do catering. We often buy a tray of noodles (and they’ll do vegetarian on request) and bring that to a potluck.


9 Design Mom March 14, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Thanks for the tips, Jeanie — especially the note about catering. I love having good options to pick up for last minute get togethers.


10 Willa March 15, 2014 at 1:49 pm

Oh man, I came in to recommend Cam Huong Cafe as well! When we lived nearby BF and I made a project of trying every kind of sandwich on the menu. We pretty much succeeded but skipped a couple that involve the mixed deli meats. I’ve had them elsewhere and am not a fan. Pretty much every one was a winner and a surprise favorite was the fish cake! Also available are lots of other Vietnamese snack foods, jelly/fruit/tea drinks, and last year they removed an interior wall connecting to the frozen yogurt place next door, so it’s like a big delicious food court now.


11 Melissa@Julia's Bookbag March 14, 2014 at 12:25 pm

that article on the schools was amazing, thanks so much for linking to it!


12 Design Mom March 14, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Glad you liked it, Melissa.


13 Birdy& Bambi March 14, 2014 at 12:26 pm

We love the ‘not bossy’ campaign!

Have an amazing weekend as well:


Birdy and Bambi


14 Design Mom March 14, 2014 at 4:27 pm

You have an amazing weekend, too!


15 Emily C. March 14, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Since I know you make it to SLC sometimes, I have to recommend Oh Mai Vietnamese Sandwiches. Sooo good!


16 Design Mom March 14, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Nice! I’ll be in SLC in June. Good to know about Oh Mai.


17 Amy3 March 14, 2014 at 1:32 pm

That language video was hilarious. I’ll have to show my daughter. Thanks, Maude! (And good luck at the track meet!)


18 Design Mom March 14, 2014 at 4:27 pm

I had to watch it twice. So funny!


19 Melissa Camara Wilkins March 14, 2014 at 1:37 pm

Those ping pong ball lights are fabulous. I bet they give the nursery a lovely soft glow. <3


20 Design Mom March 14, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Aren’t they lovely? I thought it was such a cute idea.


21 Alexis March 14, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Jeanie beat me to it! I second her recommendation for Cam Huong Cafe on International (at 7th). They have great sandwiches and other deli items (teriyaki chicken skewers, fried rice, etc.) They also have a location in Oakland China Town if you feel like heading out for a walking adventure. Parking down there can be hard to find! Also, our family loves Pho Hoa Lao, which is right next door to Cam Huong, for pho. They have a parking lot and are really family friendly. :)


22 Design Mom March 14, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Lots of votes for Cam Huong! We’ll add it to our list.


23 Jodie March 14, 2014 at 2:15 pm

I just wanted to say that I love reading your blog and as a teacher I especially love that you talk about education, send your kids to public schools in Oakland, and link to the above article with Diane Ravitch! Thank you!


24 Design Mom March 14, 2014 at 4:25 pm

Thank you for reading, Jodie! And thank you for the kind words as well.


25 kitterlee March 14, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Banh mi! Yum yum yum! When I lived in Oakland, a Vietnamese friend turned me onto a place in Oakland’s Chinatown that made the yummiest banh mi… but I can’t remember the name – so that’s super helpful. I do remember it had a bright blue awning. Or maybe it was bright green. Haaa – either way, Chinatown is a good starting place!
Also… for more delicious Vietnamese food, be sure to check out Le Cheval downtown. Oh so yum.


26 Design Mom March 14, 2014 at 4:25 pm

So many good places to try! I love the food scene here.


27 kitterlee March 14, 2014 at 2:51 pm

Cam Huong! I should have read the posts above before leaving my first comment. :) That’s the one… with it’s blue (or green) awning. Yummmmmy!


28 Abby March 14, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Where did you and your sisters have lunch at?


29 Design Mom March 14, 2014 at 4:25 pm

La Mar on Pier 1 1/2. Yum.


30 Shannon March 14, 2014 at 4:49 pm

Thanks for the great links, as always! I did excited when I saw Pi Day, thinking we were celebrating math, but you meant actual pies. ;)


31 Shannon March 14, 2014 at 4:53 pm

Thanks for the great links, as always! I did get excited when I saw Pi Day, thinking we were celebrating math, but you meant actual pies. ;)


32 Shannon March 14, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Sorry for the nearly-duplicate posts–tried to correct a typo. And, to make things even more confusing, it IS Pi Day…math, not pies. Although pies are always good!


33 Traci Barr Segal March 14, 2014 at 5:08 pm

Happy Friday! Please do share where you had yummy Vietnamese in the Mission. My hubby and I will be in the neighborhood on Tuesday.


34 Laurie March 14, 2014 at 5:57 pm

The art collectors home would be my dream! Loved that link


35 deborah March 15, 2014 at 9:37 am

I absolutely love your blog and have been reading it for ages, but never commented, since my children are wayyyy grown (34 and 36) and I don’t do DIY and I’m not into fashion anymore (I now work on a farm!) – but your blog reminds me so much of when I was a young mom and also of the time when I lived in Paris going to college and traveled a lot. I lived in the Bay Area for many years (but now live in Davis) and now my youngest son lives on the 22nd floor of a beautiful apt across from the Ferry Building – and I just love reading about your adjustments to life in the Bay Area! I’m also a photographer and I just adore looking at your gorgeous photos. And your honesty about depression is such a beautiful thing – so helpful and so generous. I think you’re the bee’s knees! I want to recommend my very, very favorite Vietnamese restaurant in SF – it has two locations – Sunflower http://sunflowersf.com/menus/SUNFLOWER_PH_LUNCH_TO_GO.pdf – one is at 16th and Valencia (actually the kitchen is in the middle and you can enter the restaurant from either street) and the other is 288 Connecticut Street. Their fresh veggie spring rolls are addictive and magnificent, and I have driven miles just to place many takeout orders! Also – have you tried Slanted Door at the Ferry Building? It’s a memorable experience! http://www.slanteddoor.com/ xoxo


36 Juli March 15, 2014 at 9:49 am

Before you ever try making those ping ping lights, take a ping pong ball and hold a match to it. They are exceptionally flammable! Seriously, try it! Even with LED lights, there is no way I would ever put one in my child’s room.
Please don’t.


37 Juli March 15, 2014 at 10:16 am

Watch this video of a ping pong ball fire. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=laC5lf5AdnA


38 christine March 15, 2014 at 10:53 am

“banh mi ba le” on international. cam huong is always a best bet in Chinatown. BC Deli is not bad too..plus they have a deal for buy 4 get 1 free or something…good for your big family =P

my mom was born and raised in Vietnam (she is Chinese) and I LOVE when her family gets together to cook homemade Vietnamese food.


39 Tiiu March 16, 2014 at 11:52 am

I love that language video. Her Finnish and Estonian sounds were spot-on, and yet entirely nonsense.


40 Tiiu March 16, 2014 at 11:55 am

And… now I see she’s Finnish. Totta kai.


41 Sheri March 18, 2014 at 7:45 am

if you’re ever up in sacramento, get the bánh mì sandwich at magpie café. the best one i’ve had yet. obsessed.


42 Selina March 20, 2014 at 10:47 am

Gabrielle, favorite Bahn mi in Oakland would have to be Cam Huong on Webster St. (Chinatown). It’s a small hole in the wall place but we keep going back because they are so good! No seating and hard to find parking. I usually call them ahead so I can pick it up quickly. There is a branch on International Blvd (bigger space and seating) but for some reason, their bahn mi isn’t quite the same. My fav is their chicken one. :)


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