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. 💕
If you visit or live in Oregon, you have most likely visited this magical place! And if you are from a totally different state, like how we are from Texas, this place will never cease to amaze you. What hike in Texas or Oklahoma, or even California would you ever get to see ten waterfalls?!
Anyway, here are some of the waterfalls we captured and I even attempted to label the names of them 💙 :
Silver Falls State Park, Oregon
Lower North Falls
Lower South Falls
We are all naturally seekers of wonders. We travel far to see the majesty of old ruins, the venerable forms of the hoary mountains, great waterfalls, and galleries of art. And yet the world’s wonder is all around us; the wonder of setting suns, and evening stars, of the magic spring-time, the blossoming of the trees, the strange transformations of the moth… Albert Pike
In spring of 2017, Michael and I were visiting Portland because he was visiting his new workplace and I was interviewing at OHSU. We talked to a stranger about local recommendations and they suggested this hike.
We didn’t read about.
We didn’t look it up.
We just… went and did it.
It ended up being one of the hardest hikes we’ve both ever been on. The elevation gain was so difficult. I’m almost thankful we didn’t know what to expect, because we wouln’t have done it otherwise. We even got cheers once we got to the top by the people that passed us because we told them we were struggling haha 😅.
In May last summer, we decided to do it again to see the sunset at the top and to hike down at night. We can definitely report that the hike is still very difficult! However, the sunset made it so. worth. it. It was like we were seeing a live painting because the color changes were unreal. And we finally saw all of the wildflowers!! 💛
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.
Crater Lake is known for its vibrant blues… but when you’re there at sunrise or sunset, the colors you get to see are unbelievably stunning. Seriously… on a clear summer day, take that road trip out there. It’s 100% worth it.
We had already planned to wake up early, but did not expect to witness the most magnificent sunrise. Seeing all of the soft shades of blue, pink, and orange painted across the sky was truly a sight to see.
We felt like we had the whole place to ourselves because no one was around us. This place is also very special to us because it was the last road trip we were able to take Layla on before she passed away.
Experiences like this always remind us to appreciate and love the little things in life. ❤️
Mount Thielsen in all of its glory in the early morning.
We also got to witness a pretty darn amazing sunset here, too.
Sunset at Crater Lake
Our little family at sunset. Miss you, sweet Lay.
This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls. John Muir
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. 💛
In the summer of 2017, I did my first solo road trip from Dallas, TX to Portland, OR. It included the Grand Canyon National Park.
I drove over over 3000 miles in twelve days. I slept in a tent for four days, stayed in a hostel, booked three different Airbnbs (I needed to shower), and slept in my car all of the other days. I’ve never traveled alone, so the idea of doing so for almost two weeks was slightly terrifying. But… it was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself and I had an absolute blast! I learned how to be resourceful, self-aware, flexible, and most importantly, I learned how to trust myself. I slept in super sketchy areas, but I’m happy I did. Sometimes traveling isn’t always so glamorous, but it still can be a great experience. I know I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. 💛
Michael also had to do his road trip alone because he left for Portland one month before I did, and his road trip was totally different from mine (our maps below!).
Here’s the route of most of the places I visited. ☺️
And this is Michael’s general road trip route below.
There is just something mysteriously magical about the ocean. Maybe it’s all of the brilliant shades of blues it can be, or maybe it’s the unpredictability of its storms, or even all of the life that is teeming underneath the surface. Whatever it is, whenever we visit the coast, there’s a sense of awe that just takes over us.