homemade naan & tikka masala.

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.

3c65be8e-07a6-4995-8803-6640005a973c
Dipping fresh, pillowy naan into a sauce is so darn good. 
9261f1a1-8392-4f08-872d-508716105f80
Spices I used from the top to bottom: Garam Masala, Hot Curry, Coriander, Tumeric, & Cumin. Also crushed up whole Cardamon pods and black peppercorns.

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

how we celebrated us.

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.

20191109-JDR_0064

20191109-JDR_0150
Gotta have that crispy, roasted pig. This was so good.

AKP-13

20191109-JDR_9571
The wedding party lining up outside my parent’s house before going in. This is the exchange of gifts that each symbolize something unique.
20191109-JDR_0189
My parents woke up at like 3-4 in the morning to cook all the yummy Vietnamese food for the guests after the ceremony was done. The pig was roasted elsewhere, but my mom and my aunt butchered it in front of everyone and it was amazing hahah.

 

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.

20191109-JDR_0492
My brother as our evening emcee was THE BEST THING EVER. He was SO much fun and realllyyyy set the vibe that night.

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.

20191109-JDR_1153
I had to find out which one was Michael’s butt! I actually got it!! He is in the dark blue suit to the right. 😊
20191109-JDR_1074
My friend’s table here had a shot pyramid tower, with money between each shot. Michael’s face describes our feelings perfectly!
20191109-_DSC4093
Yes, I’m a little drunk, it’s okay LOL.
20191109-JDR_1094
Family cheers!
20191109-JDR_1101
Toasts at the cousins table. 😊
20191109-JDR_0842
It’s already been several months since this all happened, but it is a lot of fun to look back and see all the candids and moments captured. All we wanted was to see people have a lot fun, less formality and scheduling, and have a lot of booze. I think we did pretty darn well. 😊

 

This day could not have been possible without these incredible people and vendors. They were amazing and I can’t thank them enough. 💕

Decorator: Dream Weddings
Photobooth: PicsbyPasha
Bouquets: Jo’s Flower Power
Emcees: My brother, Philip and my cousin, Phung
Makeup Artist: A family friend, Anh K Pham
Venue: The Pearl Restaurant & Lounge
Photographer
: Amber Kelley

 

finding love in this.

Here are a few messages to give your social-distancing days a little more peace, love, and positivity as we all go through this together. ❤️

It takes grace to remain kind in cruel situations. Rupi Kaur

It’s a beautiful thing to have lungs that allow you to breathe air and legs that allow you to climb mountains, and it’s a shame that sometimes we don’t realize that that’s enough. Unknown

In every crisis, confusion and doubt, take the higher path — the path of patience, alertness, courage, understandings and love. Fears and uncertainties are temporary. Amit Ray

You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength. Marcus Aurelius

Home is where love resides, memories are created, friends always belong, and laughter never ends. Unknown

 

cozy thai red curry ramen.

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!

c5a5c9ac-9bad-4f15-b91c-081586a7e445
Ever since we built this little food photography studio in our home, it’s been so much fun shooting what I’m making!

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. ❤️

Anyway, here’s this yummy recipe!

Continue reading “cozy thai red curry ramen.”

under the stars.

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.

shared4

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4.  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!
  5. 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. 💙

chance encounters.

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. 💙

 

Our Landlord

img_2577_original
Homemade by our landlords.

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.

 

Our Friends

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. 😊

img_2732
Spent a weekend camping at Mount Hood.
Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
Waterfall chasin’.
Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
These ladies are so wonderful.
Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
Couple’s trip to the painted hills!
986145e4-8ad2-4cb2-b7b1-7f49b0e414d8
A bunch of us celebrating Christmas. Truly a family away from home.

 

My Mom’s Childhood Friend

Processed with VSCO with b5 preset
My mom is on the right.

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.

Unbelievable, huh?

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.

Fate. Luck. Chance.
Kelseyleigh Reber

lunar new year.

Happy Tết!

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.

3f1aa2a1-e332-4af5-adbc-4998e81b7884
Thịt kho trứng | Vietnamese braised short ribs with eggs.

This traditional Vietnamese dish is simply cozy and comforting.

2415fdff-425c-41b8-8d78-d66e1c3e62dd
With a side of rice and some pickled mustard greens.
4a300e74-461f-488c-90da-41dc1e1b1216
Chè đậu trắng | Sweet rice pudding with black-eyed peas and a coconut sauce.

 

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.

guilty pleasures.

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:

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset
Michael loves bringing life to a campsite by chopping up some wood and building us a cozy campfire. You bet there are s’mores when there’s a fire around! (That’s probably the most guilty part about it!) 

 

sweet treats:

Pecan Pie Bars
Vanilla bean ice cream on top of a warmed pecan pie bar??? Yes, please. It’s true… we are both guilty for having a major sweet tooth.

 

cuddling:

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset Processed with VSCO with m5 preset
This is from inside our home on a rainy day. We love love love being close to each other. Cuddling, wrestling, tickling, pranking, kissing, cooking, talking. Whatever it is, we just love being in each other’s company.

 

our backyard:

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.

 

building things:

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.

 

pizza: 

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
Need I say more?

 

cheese & charcuterie:

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
Pretty much… adult lunchables. I am secretly a fan of The Bachelor series only because my classmates got me into it last year. Let’s be real, I think they easily had me at wine and meat and cheese. This spread above was just from last week when we had a girl’s night. My friend, Molly, had this all set-up when we got to her place after work!

 

Sometimes, you just gotta let yourself enjoy the little things in life. 💛

our 2019.

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. 😊

Continue reading “our 2019.”

cozy christmas.

This was our first christmas without family, but Ashley and Byron ended up coming over and it was such a lovely day.

And guess what – we all decided on a Tex-Mex taco theme for lunch and it was soooo good!! When tacos are involved, what can go wrong?!

Ashley is vegan, so it’s also a lot of fun to adjust recipes to be conscious of that. That way she can enjoy everything with all of us instead of having a totally separate meal!

Check out our taco bar below… it was so yummy.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset
Homemade vegan tex-mex taco bar for lunch!

Continue reading “cozy christmas.”

true colors in hawaii.

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!

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

Look at these two cuties! 

my favorite part.

Mac Miller | My Favorite Part

Lets cue this ~feel good song~ because we just got our wedding photos back!!

On April 20th, we had some of our closest friends and family around us, incredible weather, a beautiful four string quartet, lovely flowers done by A&L, & one badass, amazing photographer, Lily Hayes.

Here are a few of our favorite moments, our vows, and photos below.

Continue reading “my favorite part.”

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: