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.

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Thịt kho trứng | Vietnamese braised short ribs with eggs.

This traditional Vietnamese dish is simply cozy and comforting.

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With a side of rice and some pickled mustard greens.
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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:

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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:

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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: 

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Need I say more?

 

cheese & charcuterie:

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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.

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Homemade vegan tex-mex taco bar for lunch!

Continue reading “cozy christmas.”

dirty john.

Have you seen this true crime series on Netflix yet? The one about that woman’s obsessive-stalker-psychopath-narcissistic-selfish-violent husband, named John?

Eesh.
It’s hard to watch, but so eye-opening.

We just watched it with our family… and boy does that John have some striking similarities to someone we’ve had to deal with.

I’ve gone back & forth trying to decide if I wanted to write this. Mostly because part of me doesn’t want to give any energy to this, but I also want to because I am now so fascinated by personality disorders and behaviors… especially after dealing with something like this.

Let me paint you a quick picture of that person.

For 3 years, she has made at least 25 Instagram accounts, used 4 phone numbers, harassed 3 ex-boyfriends, future girlfriends of those exes, 2 female no-longer-friends of hers and their families, my brother, my brother-in-law, my mother-in-law, my husband’s employer, at least 20 friend & family of mine. I think I got everyone that I know of. That makes it at least 35 people…

That’s a lot, to say the very least. Yes, this is online harassment, but with this type of hostile behavior, we don’t know when she will become physically violent.

Almost every time we tell someone about her and how she works as a mental health caregiver… no one is surprised. “The crazy are always working with.. the crazy.”

I found that interesting… so I looked up why people think this.

The problem is that mental health professionals do a poor job of monitoring their own mental health problems.

Therapists struggling with marital problems, alcoholism, sexual abuse, substance abuse, depression, and so on don’t function very well as therapists. The questions, then, are these: How can clients be protected—and how can troubled therapists be helped?

Here’s a theory that’s not so crazy: Maybe people enter the mental health field because they have a history of psychological difficulties. Perhaps they’re trying to understand or overcome their own problems, which would give us a pool of therapists who are a hit unusual to begin with.

Robert Epstein Ph.D. & Tim Bower

I understand how this person may be in the mental health profession because she wants to understand her troubling psychological difficulties while having the ability to help others. That’s wonderful. However, what we have a deep issue with is how she uses her mental illness as an excuse to hurt people in her personal life. That’s not okay. Having a mental illness does not justify treating others poorly, right? Does having a mental disorder cause someone to create over 25 social media accounts in order to terrorize 35 people, including strangers like myself?

No.

The reality is this: Mental illness is not a free pass to be cruel, offensive, or to engage in toxic behavior. You can’t justify persistent cruelty as part of your disorder. If you find yourself lashing out of people, that’s something you need to fix. It’s something you should seek help for. It is something you should acknowledge. You should not allow it to continue happening just because you think it’s part of the parcel of mental illness.

Hattie Gladwell

I used to want to understand why she does these things, but now I realize there’s no point. We’ve learned to ignore the behavior and just block her accounts. Hopefully it doesn’t escalate beyond this.

The luckiest thing that happened was that my husband got away from that manipulative and bitter person. We often think about how his life would have been if he stayed with her. It kind of sends shivers down my spine thinking about it.

The more we hear about stories like “Dirty John”, the more we just hope women and men can find ways to safely leave toxic relationships like that and find a way to make themselves whole again.

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.”

parts unknown.

Jeanie here.

When I was in college, I was obsessed with the food industry. I was just beginning to fall in love with cooking. I found myself reading endlessly about different styles of cooking from different chefs. When I found out Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert were visiting a nearby university for a speech, I couldn’t pass it up. I was at the edge of my seat hearing about their culinary stories and their friendship. What stood out to me most was when he was asked where was his favorite country to visit he said, “Vietnam.” He kept talking about how much he fell in love with the food, the people, the country, and the culture when he visited there and it made me fall in love more with my family’s history.

His passing stunned the both of us, especially me.

I’m in disbelief that someone so loved, inspiring, and unique struggled with such dark demons that he couldn’t imagine his place in this world anymore. After writing about all of the hidden secrets of the culinary world, we are left wondering about the unknown parts of his mind. I just hope so deeply that he somehow found the peace he was looking for. Our thoughts are always with the loved ones that people leave behind.

Continue reading “parts unknown.”

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