Archive for September 2009

Sun, Surf & Shopping

September 25, 2009

Los Angeles!
Several weeks ago Greg was out west in Los Angeles helping to put together a house for a client in the Brentwood area. He was only out there for a week, but got a chance to shop with his client, see our sister Janine, and soak up some of the local fair, and just a little bit more sunshine before heading back home to Chicago.

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Greg [2] and Janine [1] relaxing at brunch at the Grove Farmers market.
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Greg put in a few long days and nights, but got a chance to get to know the city a bit more. He stumbled upon a great upholsterer and a few great shops that are must when visiting (or for those that live there). With his client in tow, a long list of items to find, and a short amount of time, he tackled the city.

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This is the charming house that he and his client were out to furnish, look for more pictures in future articles.
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Before the week began he set out with his sister to nourish up and they landed at the Grove Farmers market. This place that can get crowded rather quickly during the weekends, so he recommends that you try to go very early on a Saturday morning.

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Fresh fruit can be found in abundance, with varieties not often seen by this mid-western boy.
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For every kind of imaginable fish, Bob Tusquellas is the place to be.
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The Week!
Diamond Foam & Fabric

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This place has it all for those looking for fabric. Do not miss Diamond Foam & Fabric!
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After a refreshing start to the week at the Grove, my client and I headed out. The first stop on our journey was to a fabric store, but not just any fabric store; Diamond Foam and Fabric. This is where designers, as well as novices in the come to purchase fabric for upholstery, drapery and any other ideas that pop into their creative heads. Be prepared to spend some time there, as the place is huge, and has 2 separate buildings with bolts and bolts of fabric. Be ready to buy though because often times once the fabric is gone it is gone. Prices are amazingly good, and the selection is mind boggling.

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Greg looking through ikat fabrics for the client. Cool stuff, period.
611 S. La Brea Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90036, Phone: (323) 931-8148
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Next Stop: Little Paris Antiques

Little Paris
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Traffic was heavy in front of Little Paris Antiques Once you enter you will understand why.
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Little Paris Antiques has something for everyone, from the inexpensive to museum quality pieces. Again, you may want to grab a big breakfast before hand, because to get the full scope of the shop you must stay awhile, otherwise you may just overlook a gem. The owners are knowledgeable and will even search for pieces for the buyer who knows exactly what they are looking for.

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The shop also has a 10,000 sq foot warehouse down the street Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
The Site: 612 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036, 323.857.1080 PH

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Still moving

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From the moment you see 45 Three Modern Vintage Home, you are compelled to enter.
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45 Three Modern Vintage Home is one of the reasons I love L.A. The mix of old and new, along with the feel of old Hollywood permeates as you walk through this small but fulfilling store. The owner Staci Cain is always present and attentive. She knows her stuff, and is constantly replenishing the items as the go whizzing out the door. On the first day I went I saw a pair of chairs that just came in. When I returned the next day, they were already gone as was much of the store. Fortunately, another truck was on its way. Be quick, good deals do not last long here!

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The eclectic feel of the store; fun, chic and now!
45 Three Modern Vintage Home 1051 1/2 S. Fairfax Ave. Los Angeles ,CA 90035

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Last Day of Shopping

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A client of mine was having a baby, so I bought the gift here Congratulations John, Liesl, Teddy & welcome Conner!
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A general store with a flair for editing, Brentwood General Store takes all of things that you would want, and edits them down to only the best of the best, simple, elegant and right on the money. For that quick gift, retro game or something you never thought you knew you needed, stop here.

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How could you resist. I mean really!
225 26th St, Santa Monica, CA 90402, (310) 394-9225
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Last, but definitely worth the wait!

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Roberta Roller Rabbit Love the name, merchandise is even better.
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We missed Roberta Roller Rabbit the first day we tried to go. Traffic threw a curve into our plans, but after a few phone calls to the manager Christina and the Sales Associate Christy… we promised we would be back. We even offered to bring them coffee in the morning but ever the professionals, they declined and let us know we would have their undivided attention. I would love to say that the service was the only reason we loved the place, but that would be a lie. WOW, the bedding will blow you away!

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These linens will brighten any room They also sell men’s and women’s bathing suits and casual clothes.
225 26th Street, Suite 4, Brentwood Country Mart, Santa Monica, CA 90402, T 310.899.4440

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— Until next week
Greg & Christopher.

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Design Brothers this week
We forgot to place the link for Greg’s mention in Chicago Home & Garden last week. Here it is!

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Color Our World!

September 18, 2009

Color is one of those things that is very personal. There are no rules for choosing color. Everyone has an opinion about their favorites, but when it comes down to painting walls, we all freeze up. Choosing suddenly becomes the hardest decision of our lives!
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How many kids can fit in a Red Fairlane? It is still undecided, but the Jagmin kids fit in it nicely for awhile.
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Over the last several weeks Greg has been working on several projects including: a complete renovation of a single family house, working with a developer converting a 4 unit apartment building into luxurious condos, a kitchen rehab and two bathroom gut rehabs. With all of the work one basic question keeps being asked, “What color should we paint this room?”

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The final color selection for a kitchen.
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The answer is never the same as it depends upon many factors; so Greg decided to give our readers some insight and tips on how to go about choosing the right color for your home. We hope this helps a little!

If you are like most people, walking into a paint store can be very intimidating. There are more than 60 colors of green, 100’s of blues, too many reds and, Oh My God… what happened to plain old white?

Take a step back; breath in and out, the process does not have to be so hard.
There are two basic ways to approach planning to paint;

1. Pick out all the items already chosen for the room and start to decide on a basic coordinating color that will work with those items.

2. Chose a paint color and then pick out all of the items that will go into that room based upon the color chosen.

Most people do not have the luxury of buying all new pieces, so, choice #1 may be the way to proceed, but whichever path you choose… just be patient! Don’t rush into deciding a color before doing a little research. Don’t worry though… any novice can choose the right color.

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Stop Think before you paint. But, don’t forget to have some fun!
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Here are some simple questions that can begin the process for you.

1. Look in magazines, which colors are you drawn to? How do those colors make you feel?

2. What colors do you wear most often? Why?

Blue: Do you like shades of blue? Blue is a relaxing and soothing color, it makes us feel more centered. It is a color often chosen for bedrooms because of its calming factors. Blue is said to help improve productivity and efficiency. Do you have children or an office? Blue may be a good choice for your work area, or the room where your children play.

Red: It is quite the opposite of blue. Many restaurants are painted red, as it is said to increase appetites (for those of you on diets you may want to forgo this color choice). Red is a powerful color and stimulates the mind. Use it in a place where you want to think. Use it in kitchens or dining rooms if you entertain and love to cook.

Yellow: I never recommend yellow for babies’ rooms as it said to cause colicky babies, but in adults yellow tends to make people feel more cheerful, happy and energetic. A pale shade of yellow can be beautiful in a breakfast room or living room. It is the perfect color for where you start your day.

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Coordinated in color At the boat dock at our favorite vacation place, Cadillac, Michigan. Beth [1], Aunt Trudy [3], and Jeff [4] all in blue and white. Greg [2] is in red and blue plaid, while Kelly pulls off a yellow and blue combination.
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Green: Like blue, green tends to calm people. There is a Zen like quality to many greens. Possibly because we see so much green everyday outdoors, it tends to feel natural and neutral at the same time. Green happens to be the most used color in any variation for home interiors. Use it for any room of the house for an energizing, and refreshing look.

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A guest room for a clients home in a very calming shade of green More reveal pictures to come.
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Purple: This is the color of royalty. We often think of King and Queen’s robes when we see deep purples. It is a formal color. Even subtle shades of lavender can make everything that is put into that room look regal. Looks great in a living room or den when you want to feel regal.

Grey: My personal favorite… from light shades of grey to deep shades as well as when it is mixed with any of the other colors above. Grey, to me, softens any color surrounding it. Grey goes with gold and silver, and anything set next to it begins to take on a new life. Grey walls provide neutral backgrounds that can often times out last the very things put into the room. A formal living area or hall is perfect for a deep shade of grey.

Black & White: The combination together is remarkable. It is yin and yang, and with a shot of color, a room will be transformed. When used with constraint it can be used in any room of the house. It is bold and classic at the same time. Christopher happens to love this combination, and is his inspiration for his work.

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Black and White with just a shade of blue.
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Hopefully now you have a base color in mind, if so, go to the paint store with swatches or ideas in hand. Most paint stores have a large color field to begin the process. Seek out the base you had in mind and look at the various shades. Do you want this color to be a backdrop to highlight additional color in the room, or is this going to be the focal point?

If you have swatches of fabric or pictures of colors you like but cannot find a match, don’t be afraid to go up to the counter to see if they can match the color. With technology today it should not be very difficult to replicate.

BUT WAIT!! Don’t buy all the paint yet. Most paint brands offer smaller containers of the colors you are looking for. Choose two or three and buy the smallest amount you can. Take it home and paint a 16” x 16” portion on various walls within the same room. Let them dry and look at them the next day in various degrees of lighting. Once in the morning, in the afternoon and night, with the lighting you will use in that room. Paint looks different throughout the day, and you must love it before you commit to the whole room. Don’t forget to put a few of the bigger pieces in the room to see how they will work together. This sounds like a lot of work, but it will save time repainting later.

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Kitchen paint swatches with a fabric as the guiding factor Come back in another week and the whole picture will be put together. Make sure to come back and see the room.
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Great. You have chosen the color, but unfortunately you are not done. Next you must determine the finish of the paint. The finish is really how it will look on the wall. Most rooms are painted in a matte or flat paint, with trim done in a semi-gloss. A pearl finish will give your walls a bit more of a shine. And while I love high gloss walls in some rooms, it is very unforgiving. Every blemish or uneven portion of the wall will be highlighted. If you can live with it, you will have walls that will always reflect light even if painted black. They will definitely have a glamorous feel to them.

Now, don’t forget the ceiling and the baseboards and crown molding. The baseboards, crown and all trims should be painted the same color. Most people choose white although a darker color can work if the walls tend to be on the lighter side. When choosing the white, again think of the look you are going for. If you wish more of a modern touch — go with a stark white, and if you have a more traditional feel, tend to go with a creamier shade so you won’t have such a stark contrast.

Of course, these ideas are just ideas, and so I would recommend to experiment, take your time, and find that perfect color combination for your unique style. Be courageous! Get ready to paint, and go for it! After all it is only paint! And, remember you can always paint it over if you don’t like what you’ve done.

—Until next week
Greg & Christopher

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Design Brothers this week
Greg is mentioned in the newest Issue of Chicago Home & Garden magazine. Christopher’s plates are now at Uber in Indianapolis. If you are Indy, they are located at 5912 N. College Avenue.
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Summer lovin’

September 11, 2009

Labor Day is already over. School has started again. Pretty soon, the leaves will start to fall. Well, maybe not in Phoenix and a few other places. Phoenix has about six more weeks of hot weather yet. But, you know what we are getting at… summer is about over. The good times of summer do not have to end, however. There are plenty of beautiful days ahead before the autumnal equinox happens, and even after that!

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Christopher [1], and Greg [2] on a favorite secret beach in Hawaii (we can’t tell you which one) We swear we have not been drinking when our photo was taken!
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One way to keep summer going is to keep the bbq grilling, and keep making those simple, easy meals, to eat outdoors. Put your sweater on, get outside with a nice picnic, and enjoy those sunny days. We’ve compiled a few of our favorite summer recipes, and asked our family to supply some more. The Jagmin’s love to eat, and some of us like to cook more than others, so not everyone in our family is represented. Some of these recipes are more exotic than others, but most are just fun and easy to make. We hope you like to eat, because when we eat, we like to keep it simple.

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Greg’s Cantaloupe Salad

This light summer salad is always a favorite at Greg’s house.

Serves 4

1 ripe cantaloupe, scooped into 1-inch balls with a melon baller (about 3 cups)
8 ounces bocconcini (small fresh-mozzarella balls),
or fresh mozzarella cut into 1-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
2 to 3 thin slices ham or prosciutto, cut into strips
1/4 cup torn mint leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper

In a large bowl, combine cantaloupe, bocconcini or fresh mozzarella, ham or prosciutto, and lemon juice.

Season with salt and pepper.
Toss with mint leaves, and serve immediately

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New York City Watermelon Salad

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Watermelon, basil, and feta Makes us think of summer!
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Christopher had this at a New York City restaurant a few weeks ago, and tries to replicate this delicious and fresh salad.

Serves 2-3
4 cups cubed watermelon
2 cups cubed Feta Cheese
8 large basil leaves
drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Mix it all up for a summery taste. I also might add 1 cup of sliced cucumbers for some more crunch.

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shrimpShack
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Giovannis Christopher at the landmark for some spicy shrimp on the North Shore of Oahu.
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Jagwaiian Coconutty Fish

A meal that reminds us of a great family vacation we had in Hawaii.

Serves 2
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
¼ cup of pecans (or another type of nut)
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 egg 2 tilapia fillets (about 6 ounces each). You can substitute another fish like Halibut, or even Shrimp.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Combine 1/4 cup of the coconut and bread crumbs in a food processor and spin until fine crumbs form.
Place in a shallow dish and stir in remaining coconut, salt and pepper.
Beat the egg in a shallow bowl.
Dip fish in the egg, then in the coconut mixture.
Place on a small, ungreased baking sheet.
Bake, turning once, until crust is light golden brown and fish is flaky.
It will take about 7 minutes per side.

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Christopher’s Limey Bean Salad

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Limey Bean Salad with Chicken and cilantro Before [1], and After [2].
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This is something Christopher makes a lot of to eat all summer. It is cool and refreshing, and healthy too!

Serves 4
2 cans of black beans (drained and washed)
½ diced cucumber ½ diced jicama
1 carrot 3 Roma tomatoes (squeeze out the liquid)
1 grilled (or cooked) corn cob ¼ cup of fresh basil or cilantro leaves (you can pick whatever you like)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 large limes (or three… I like it tart!)
pepper and salt

This one is so easy. If you don’t like something on the list, or have another item that works well… add it, or substitute.

Dice all of the vegetables and herbs, and scrape the corn off the cob.
Mix everything together, and squeeze the lime, then drizzle the olive oil over everything.
Season to taste.
Done!
If you have left over chicken or steak, dice the leftovers and mix them into the mixture. It also makes a great salsa.

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Jeff”s Toast and Jam

Here is one from our brother, Jeff. He is one of the best chefs in the family (BTW)!

Fresh fruit in season (typically berries such as strawberries or raspberries)
Leftover baguette (or similar bread)
Sugar (enough to lightly cover the top of the bread and fruit)

Generously cover the bread with fruit
Top with sugar (sugar in the raw… which is bigger… equals a better “crust”)
Heat with a baker’s torch, benzo-matic, or even an oven broiler until sugar is crispy and caramelized.

If you begin by toasting and buttering the baguette before you add the fruit, you’ll get a crispier version. Carmelize as above.

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Here they are on their wedding day Boy, it was hot that summer day in Eastern Washington when Jeff [1], and Amy [2] got married.
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Amy’s Dorito Surprise

Here is a recipe from Jeff’s wife, Amy. This has been a July 4th family tradition for Amy’s family for many years, but you can have it any time.

Serves 8
1 pound hamburger or ground turkey taco seasoning
1 head iceberg lettuce
extra sharp cheddar cheese (lots)
tomatoes to taste
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can black olives
1 bag Doritos
1 bottle of Catalina dressing

Cook hamburger or ground turkey as if making taco meat.
Add taco seasoning to taste.
Set aside and allow to cool.
Tear lettuce for salad.
Dice tomatoes.
Drain and rinse kidney beans.
Shred the cheese.
Halve the olives.
Crush Doritos into smaller pieces.

The salad is best if built right before eating or putting out for a picnic. If bringing to a friend’s house, place lettuce in a large bowl, package other ingredients separately, and don’t forget the mixing/serving utensils.
Add all the ingredients except dressing to lettuce.
Toss.
Add dressing (don’t be skimpy).
Toss.
Serve.

Mix it up and make it your signature — add some additional garbanzo beans, monterey jack cheese, jalapenos, or whatever you like.

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Zoe’s Yogurt Pie

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Everyone loves cake Our niece, Zoe on her birthday, this year.
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Zoe’s mom, Beth Ann sent this one it for us! This one is as easy as you can get.

Serves 6-8
2 containers of fruit flavored yogurt (your choice)
1 container cool whip (you can use fat free and sugar free)
1 pre-made graham cracker pie crust
1 cup fresh fruit (your choice)

Mix the yogurt, Cool Whip and fresh fruit in a bowl.
Pour into the pre-made pie crust and freeze for two hours.

It’s really simple, really easy, and really good!

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Design Brothers this week: Christopher’s plates (like the messy one above) are now sold in Montclair, New Jersey at ColorStoryHome.
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Here’s to your endless summer. Until next week. Bon Appétit!
—Greg and Christopher

Greg Ng: Blogger and Shaker

September 3, 2009

During his many years as a graphic designer, slash art director, slash illustrator, Christopher had so much fun working with some amazingly talented people. What a great adventure it was, to meet and work with photographers, illustrators, artists, set designers, stylists, and other art directors and designers.

Frankly, there were a few people who did not live up to the hype, and were not fun to work with at all, but for the most part, it was an honor to work with such awe-inspiring talent. Christopher learned so much during those years about professionalism, humility, and letting go of ego in the presence of real talent.

For many years Christopher worked on a national retail account with an agency just south of Boston. His assignment was to illustrate for a national retail client. There were a lot of illustrations for this particular client, and the work came in for many years. It was a great gig.

It was especially nice to work with one of the art directors on that account, Greg Ng. Not your typical art director, Greg was always calm, clear and concise with direction, and very talented. We mostly worked together over the phone. Christopher would draw up some sketches based on Greg’s direction, and then faxed them to the agency. After they were presented to the client and approved, Christopher would then draw the finishes on the computer, and email them over for the finished ad or direct mail piece. The two rarely met in person. In fact, they can only remember meeting twice. But, like a lot of work that is done these days, there are multitudes of people that only meet on the phone.

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Episode 16
A still shot of just one from over 200 episodes of Freezerburns.

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Now, Greg is simply an amazing guy. He is a husband, father of three, has since moved down to Raleigh, North Carolina where he is a Creative Director for a marketing agency, performs as Chelvis (the Chinese Elvis!), and puts together the video-blog, Freezerburns. Freezerburns is the quintessential website to get all the information you’ll ever need for frozen food. On this site, Greg reviews the misunderstood, and underappreciated food from the freezer section.

We have no idea where he gets this energy, and are simply amazed by the work that he produces. So, the Design Brothers chat with him this week about Freezerburns, and some of the other things that he does to keep himself busy. We thought it appropriate to interview Greg for the Labor Day edition of this blog, as everything he does, is a labor of love, and all fun.

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The beginning of a culinary career
Greg, on his 4th birthday with Super Friends.

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Design Brothers: What got you interested in writing about food? Did you grow up with TV dinners?

Greg: Frozen food is not something I have ever been particularly obsessed with. Nor was it a major part of my childhood! I grew up in a family where both my mom and my dad were decent cooks so there was never a shortage of great food in my house. That being said, my family was not above stocking the freezer with frozen pizzas, burritos, and chicken nuggets. And when I got to college if I wasn’t eating Ramen, I was eating something out of my freezer.

DB: Why frozen food, then?

G: As for why I decided to start a blog about frozen foods, there were a number of factors. There are hundreds of “foodie” and “food Porn” websites out there published by people that spend way more time on particularly prepared meals than the average person does. Those sites are very aspirational but in my opinion, not terribly realistic. I wanted to give real reviews for the “common man” if you will. Another reason for choosing the frozen food niche was simply because it was an untapped market full of big brands who want a voice. I would be lying if I told you I didn’t think about the potential sponsorship opportunity for a show like mine.

DB: It seems so hard getting your videos out on a regular basis. I really feel the passion in this and everything you do. Where do you find the time and energy?

G: This question, by far, is the question I get asked the most. In fact, some people offer that I have a time machine or I cloned myself as the reason I can churn out so much content. The real answer is everyone has the opportunity to do as much as I do its just a matter of priority. I’m not saying there’s a right way or a wrong way. Just, what’s right for each person. Again, this is partly due to my obsession with uncovering something brilliant in myself.

In actuality, I have always been a phenomenal multi-tasker but never put it to use until shortly after my first child was born. All of a sudden I was forced with less sleep during the day and frequently more time to think during the late night or early mornings. That meant that when I had free time, it was as if my engine was revving and the wheels were spinning at top speed just waiting to hit the ground. I get a high out of producing content, and I haven’t stopped.

DB: Design, food critiques, entertainment, and writing? Is there one thing that you like more than another?

G: Although I went to school for Graphic Design (RISD Class of 97) I have never considered myself a good artist. Nor a great writer… or a good photographer. But I do consider myself creative. And I believe strongly in creative inspiration. That’s part of the reason why I dabble in a ton of different projects…I’m afraid there may be a stroke of creative brilliance that’s hiding just around the bend or under a rock waiting to be overturned.

DB: With this blog and your other ventures, you seem to just like to entertain people?

G: Do I like to entertain people? Absolutely. But mostly, I want to share something unique.

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Shake, shake, shake it Chelvis
Greg, as the one and only, King of Wok and Roll.

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DB: That brings us to Chelvis. How did you get started?

G: This is a case of an inside joke taken too far. Right before I graduated from college one of my friends gave me a book of Elvis photographs citing that he saw the cover and thought Elvis looked like me. I had never considered that, but looking at the picture I did see a resemblance. We joked about how funny it would be if I was an Elvis impersonator and started thinking about what my name would be. Soon after we came up with Chelvis: The Chinese Elvis. Now I love Elvis and his music and I am a pretty decent singer. But mostly, this was an exercise in celebrity, icons, and satire.

DB: You do seem to tweak Chinese culture in a playful way.

G: The truth is I grew up in an area (a suburb of Philadelphia) where there wasn’t a whole lot of diversity. I didn’t really appreciate being Chinese until college really. The bottom line is stereotypes come from somewhere. And that somewhere tends to be based on facts. I think that people get too hung up on being politically correct that they forget to truly embrace their culture. I tend to be fearless when talking about being Chinese American.

ngT

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Slanty Eyes T-shirt Just one of Greg’s many designs.
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Let’s face it: I AM good at ping pong. I DO have family members who are dry cleaners. My SKIN is sort of yellowish. My eyes ARE sort of slanty. Hopefully this can break down some barriers. My Chelvis and Slanty Eyes websites deal a lot with stereotypes and I have received emails and letters from some Chinese Americans who have been offended. But at the same time I sell a lot of Slanty Eye t-shirts to Asian Americans.

DB: Since you are always up to something new, what other ideas do you have up your sleeves?

G: Well, right now I am concentrating mostly on extending my reach and awareness of Freezerburns. But I do have a few ideas bouncing around that will eventually work their way to the top. A few teasers…one is a daily video journal that evolves around Mariah Carey’s Glitter soundtrack (not kidding), and another involves a viral idea for a non-profit organization. Stay tuned….

C: We will Greg. We can’t wait to see what will happen next from you!

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Design Brothers this week: We forgot to mention that; Greg (Jagmin, that is) appeared in the July – August 2009 issue of Chicago Home + Garden Magazine.
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Until next week.

—Christopher and Greg