Making bread is a whole adventure in itself… and during these quarantine days, food adventures at home works for us! Hope everyone is staying safe and staying sane. 💙
I used to be really intimidated by baking and bread making in general, but I’m starting to warm up to it. There is something so gratifying about it and Michael freaking loves it, too! I’ll take it. I love when I can get him in the kitchen with me to play around with new recipes. He kind of geeks out on yeast and bread and all the different types of flour and their protein content… I could go on, but you get the point hahah.
Anyway… if ya’ll are cooking at home and are craving indian food, you have to try these recipes! They’re sooo good.
Tikka Masala recipe – I did adjust a few things for my own taste, but overall, it’s an amazing recipe.
Naan recipe – we didn’t make the garlic butter. Half Baked Harvest is seriously my favorite food person/blogger ever.
Not gonna lie, combining my love for food and photography has been bringing me so much joy these days. I haven’t been this excited about something in awhile. It’s been funny though because I’ve been cooking a lot, which leads to a lot of leftovers. But we’ve been doing some porch front or garage deliveries for some friends (gotta keep that social distancing up!) I know it’s silly… but it makes me so ridiculously happy to share!
Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it. Julia Child
We finalllyyyy received all of our Vietnamese wedding reception photos and (sorry, not sorry) I want to share some of the moments from one of the best days ever. 💕
We decided to have our reception almost seven months after we got officially married because of a few personal reasons. It was a little unconventional, but it ended up being perfect for us.
Vietnamese Tea Ceremony
This ceremony took place at my parent’s house. There’s a lot of symbolism in these traditions that I’ve only grown to appreciate now as I’ve become older. I never imagined doing a traditional tea ceremony, but now I am so so happy we did.
Love is in the Details
Our decorators, florists, and photographers made everything so beautiful. Michael and I also got to create and print out the seating arrangements and made our own signature cocktails for our bartenders to serve!
The Girls & The Boys
Ya’ll are the best and we had such a good time with you all by our sides.
These just make us smile so damn much.
One of our favorite traditions of having a Vietnamese reception is that we have to visit every single table to just give them a little love, a cheers, and show that we appreciated these guests for celebrating with us. The only caveat is… the younger tables typically have a game of some type that leads to a gift.
This day could not have been possible without these incredible people and vendors. They were amazing and I can’t thank them enough. 💕
I haven’t shared a recipe on here before… but this was too freaking delicious to not share!
Oh my goodness, you guys. When I made this, Michael and I were looking forward to dinner every single night we had this.
A warm, cozy bowl of rich red curry broth with fresh noodles and roasted peanuts??! Sign. Me. Up. Michael hates mushrooms, but any time I can sneak them into a meal without him really noticing is a win for me!
I am pretty sure the biggest way I show my love is by cooking and feeding others. I’m not sure why, but I feel so much happiness from sharing any sweet treats or meals that I make. And I don’t think I ever stop thinking about what to cook next and who I’m going to share my leftovers with.
Cheers to always eating good with even better company surrounding you. ❤️
On nights like this when the air is so clear, you end up saying things you ordinarily wouldn’t. Without even noticing what you’re doing, you open up your heart and just start talking to the person next to you—you talk as if you have no audience but the glittering stars, far overhead. Banana Yoshimoto
With what’s going on these days, Michael and I are definitely distancing ourselves from everyone outside of work. He’s works for the government to monitor infectious disease, bioterrorism agents, and when needed, even COVID-19. I am treating immunocompromised cancer patients with radiation at a few different hospitals. Neither of us want to risk the chance of not doing what we love, and I definitely do not want to put my patients in any more risk than they already are.
With everything going on, I’ve been reflecting a lot about us and our lives and some of the things I really really appreciate.
You all. We just reached over 100 followers on this blog, and I feel so grateful. Every single one of you who have chosen to click that follow button to join us in our adventures through our love and our life in the Pacific Northwest means a lot. Thank you for sticking along with us and sharing your stories as well.
Photography. All through my teenage years, I was always painting. I loved art so much, but it became really hard to keep it up when college started. Just a couple of years ago, I picked up the camera to just capture a few moments. Since then, my love for outdoor and food photography has grown into a creative passion that I truly can’t imagine life without anymore. After working so much since graduating, I finally bought us a brand new camera and upgraded our old one this week. Goodbye T3i, helloooo EOS-R!
Us goofing around. Michael and I are almost always messing around, wrestling with each other, having tickle fights, or even… grabbing each other’s butts. My personal favorite… his kiss attacks when I’m in a funky mood because it always somehow gets me out of it. 💙So grateful for him for always finding a way to make me smile, even when it’s really hard to.
Family. My parent’s always reaching out with concern for my health and safety and… sending me all the congress updates on how I can get student loan debt relief during this time hahah. They’re the best. Also- big s/o to my in-laws and my (basically) aunts for sewing masks for me and my coworkers in case we run out. Ya’ll are incredible!
The selfless frontline or essential workers out there who are sacrificing their health and safety right now in order to help others, and I do not mean just in the hospital. For one small example, I know a few teachers who are using this time to make sure their students are getting fed each day and given resources for education beyond the school’s means. There are soooo many stories like this. I can’t say enough words to say how absolutely incredible and heroic they are. Sending so much healing love to people like this every single day.
I know it’s tough these days. When you can, take a few moments to just reflect on the good things, even if it’s small. If what you are thinking about brings a smile to your face or makes your heart happy, do that thing a little more every day. 💙
How do you meet new people, and by chance, they will end up becoming meaningful relationships for the rest of your life? Especially when you aren’t relying on meeting others through school or work?
Well… we got so incredibly lucky with the people we have met here in Portland so far. Every time we think about the strangers that became more than that, it always blows our mind. We moved here without knowing a single soul in Oregon and we just feel grateful.
Michael and I met by a chance encounter when I stood behind him at a coffee shop. From that moment on, we’ve embraced keeping an open mind when it comes to meeting people.
Here are a few of our favorite stories that now have a special place in our hearts. 💙
In 2017, we were visiting Portland for the first time together. Michael already had a job lined up, so he was doing a site visit. I was interviewing to go back to school. We were looking all over downtown for a studio apartment and geez, it was expensive. We decided to stop looking one night and go to a dessert bar. There was such a huge wait, so we initially decided to get a dessert to-go. As we were being handed our to-go box, two seats opened up at the small bar. I immediately asked if we could snag those two bar seats! The restaurant got our dessert plated so we could enjoy it there.
As I was laughing and talking with Michael, my shoulder bumped the older man beside me. I turned to apologize and the man ended up laughing at me and asked what dessert we were having! We ended up talking to this couple for the next hour or so. We found out that they were both in the healthcare field and had a connection to the school I was applying for. They asked about our situation and story. It was so easy talking to them. At one point, I noticed them kind of give each other a silent look, the kind of look that showed they were communicating, but we had no idea what it was…
Turns out, the couple had two homes and they were wanting to rent out one of them, but they did not want to put it on the public market! They said they could sense that we were genuine people, so they offered us to come over right after my interview to see their place!!! We were FREAKING OUT. Of course we said yes.
We brought over two bottles of wine. And when we arrived, they had so many little appetizers. After chatting for awhile, we enjoyed homemade baked salmon, sautéed greens beans, and a side salad. It was soooo delicious and thoughtful of them. We got lost in so many conversations over 4-5 hours of being there.
A few days later, they negotiated a deal with us and umm.. it was a no brainer.
These wonderful humans have become a second family to us. Without their generosity and guidance, we wouldn’t be where we needed to be. We are forever grateful for this family for what they have given us.
This one is a strange one, too. We met all of these folks through Instagram via our mutual love for hiking, adventuring, and photography. I won’t make this too long, so here’s a few photos of our adventures together. 😊
My Mom’s Childhood Friend
This is my mom’s childhood friend from the 70s-80s.
Let this sink in… they hadn’t seen each other in over forty years. By the miracle of social media, my uncle found her profile and forwarded it to my mom a few months ago. My mom discovered that her friend immigrated from Vietnam to Portland!!! I was living so close to her this whole time. Our family flew her out to Dallas for our wedding which was so amazing. Michael and I also ended up spending an afternoon with her a few weeks ago, and she showed us this picture of her and my mom.
That is life, isn’t it? Fate. Luck. Chance.
A long series of what-if’s that lead from one moment to the next, time never pausing for you to catch your breath, to make sense of the cards that have been handed to you. And all you can do is play your cards and hope for the best, because in the end, it all comes back to those three basics.
Growing up, my mom was always someone who celebrated certain holidays with so much enthusiasm and love, especially around Vietnamese new year! She would spruce up the home with bright red and gold decorations and there would always be so much delicious food.
I don’t do nearly as much celebrating as my family would do, but I definitely had to make some of my favorite dishes for us. My mom is incredibly (and hilariously) superstitious. Without fail, my mom always messages me to eat my black eyed peas for the new year. Well, I’ve never missed a year without eating them, so I’m not going to start now!
Black-eyed peas swell when cooked, symbolize prosperity. The mustard greens symbolize money. The pork, because pigs root forward when foraging, represents positive motion. The eggs symbolize fertility and a big healthy family.
This traditional Vietnamese dish is simply cozy and comforting.
Behind the Scenes
This is a little side project I’ve been working on with Michael. We’ve both always loved taking photos of our adventures, but lately I’ve been more interested in shooting … food! I love to cook, so I figured why not combine the two things?
We got some walnut wood and Michael cut them up for me in two feet long pieces. I sanded them down. We stained them. He created a base. And I found some fabric to create a few backdrops! It was so much fun, and I am so excited to see what happens!
May the new year bring in your life joys that never fade, hopes that never die, and strength that never weakens.
What’s my guilty pleasure? The thing is, I never feel guilty about pleasures. Tom Hiddleston
We were talking about what some of ours were the other day, and we figured we would share them here. Here’s a few of them. 😊
a cozy campfire:
We got so incredibly lucky finding our current place. Our landlord is one of the most wonderful human beings ever. Favorite thing? Our bedroom opens directly into this upper level deck that has this view!! The guilty part? We prefer to stay home more than going out on most days.
Michael loves to build things! He removed the back seats out of our FJ cruiser and built a storage platform that has so much space AND can fit a full size mattress on top of it. There’s nothing like getting the bed set-up, opening the back window, and enjoying the view wherever we are. Also – check out the spice rack he made for me!! (I know, terrible photos. They’re from my Instagram stories haha.) It’s so nice that I can see them all now versus shuffling through them trying to find the right one.
cheese & charcuterie:
Sometimes, you just gotta let yourself enjoy the little things in life. 💛
Can you believe 2020 is right around the corner? How is there only two more days of this year left?
As it typically does, another year has flown by without us realizing it. And of course, so much has happened. We were driving home the other day and we just went back and forth about what was most memorable and what wasn’t.
We aren’t going to write about what wasn’t so great, but in no particular order, here are a few of our favorites from 2019. 😊
Sharing Michael’s parents first time visiting Hawaii! It made our hearts so happy to hear about their adventures and see their photos. We couldn’t help but share some of them. I seriously cannot get over all of the shades of blue coming off of the sky and the ocean water. It is just something else.
With Michael’s dad, Nick, having stage IV kidney cancer, seeing them take this bucket-list trip is heartwarming. They have gone on so many incredible trips in the last two years. Nick has a huge interest in war history, and he just came back from France visiting WWII sites. So having him get the chance to visit Pearl Harbor with his wife, Kim, was a pretty surreal moment. This trip to Hawaii may have been unexpected, but it turned out to be perfect timing.
I know they’re still exploring Hawaii, but we are so thankful they are still having a romantic trip together. These two have really taught us the value of making every moment count and making the best of any situation. Pretty sure Hawaii is on our travel list next year!