thousands of roses.

Found along our walks in a city aptly named “The City of Roses”.

All of these were taken at Washington Park at a section known as the International Rose Test Garden. You can find over 10,000 bushes of roses with more than 650 different varieties. It’s a stunning sight to behold.

Not much else to say here because the beauty of these flowers speak for themselves.

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My favorites tend to be the orange dreamsicle colored ones. But these painted ones were so amazing!! Each rose was so unique, as if they were personally painted with different brush strokes. Beautiful.

 

As delicate as flower, as tender as rose petals, choosing to be tender and kind in a harsh environment is not weakness, it’s courage.
Luffina Lourduraj

alpine lake adventures.

Colchuck Lake, The Enchantments
Wenatchee National Forest

The mountain has left me feeling renewed, more content and positive than I’ve been for weeks, as if something has been given back after a long absence, as if my eyes have opened once again. For this time at least, I’ve let myself be rooted in the unshakable sanity of the senses, spared my mind the burden of too much thinking, turned myself outward to experience the world and inward to savor the pleasures it has given me.
Richard Nelson

The Bitzers

We are six months into 2020, and I think we can all agree it’s been quite the year. Not only are we all fighting a global viral pandemic, there’s a fight against racial injustices, gender inequality, and police brutality happening all at the same time.

With everything going on, I couldn’t find a way to shut up off my mind. My phone was alerting me that I’ve been on it for far more hours than usual. Our conversations at home seemed to revolve solely around what was happening in the world. I’m pretty sure I’ve cried more in the last couple months than I have in my life. I’ve definitely experienced hate and racism, but learning about the violent injustices towards our black community has been devastating and heartbreaking.

On top of this, Michael lost his dad, my father-in-law, from his fight against kidney cancer. There’s nothing that can really prepare you for this type of situation. Nick is truly one of the good ones and to lose him like this, makes life seem so unfair. I wish we could have had him be Pappy to our kids one day, but I know he will be there with them in spirit. Several months ago, Michael wrote something that we never posted. So I want to share it here.

My dad is the epitome of the protector of our family. He showed me what it meant to be strong and that family always comes first. When he started dating my mom (who already had two kids: me and my sister), he wasn’t that much older than I am now. I have so much respect and appreciation for him taking on that responsibility and stepping in as our father figure without any hesitation. If my life continued with my biological dad in it, it would be completely different in the worst way possible.

I wish I didn’t struggle with knowing how or when to express my feelings of gratitude and love for him as a son because I do. Without a doubt, he has helped me become the man that I am today.

It’s hard to grasp how life is going to be without him. There’s such a fear of the unknown for me. 

Miss you and love you, Nick.

 

We realized we both deeply needed some self care. We don’t know a better way other than going outdoors and having no phone service.

A lot of campsites and outdoor areas are still closed, but when we found out this hike was actually open, we had to do it. It’s been on our list ever since we moved here and oh my GOSH is was incredible. All-in-all, we hiked over eleven miles, and it really kicked our butts. Our legs were killing us towards the end of the hike. But this view… is therapeutic. Alpine lakes are magical and so worth the hike up to them.

We still cannot get over how stunningly beautiful this hike was!!

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The trail splits off here to Colchuck Lake and Stuart Lake.
All smiles here because… how can you not?!!? This view is incredible!
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Those turquoise-y blues are so dreamy. 💙 After a tough hike, we had to take off those hiking shoes to let our feet breathe. It felt so good to sit back against a big rock and relax.
The Bitzers
Our hiking snacks this time!
The Bitzers
Spotted a backpacker taking a snooze. He looks like a watermelon slice with those colors hahah

After enjoying the view from a higher spot, we wanted to continue along the trail to see if we could find a spot down closer to the water.

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We ran into a mountain goat along the way!! This goat was so chill and could not care less that we were there. We kept our distance though, just in case.

 

And we found a spot closer to the water!!

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Michael is pointing at a skiier coming down that pass between the mountains. It’s crazy!!
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Happy as can be.
One of these days, we plan to come back here to camp out a few days. (If we actually win permits in the lottery!)

 

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Our walking stats after the hike. 😅

 

After hiking, we found this lovely dispersed camping site near a lake. It rained all morning and night. I love our conversations together when it’s just the two of us like this. Life together has been a dream and I am just so excited for what’s to come.

The Bitzers

Sending a lot of love out to you all.

Times are extremely wild and sensitive right now, so I hope you can take some time to find some mental peace and joy.

 

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.

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Dipping fresh, pillowy naan into a sauce is so darn good. 
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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

horseshoe bend & antelope canyon.

There’s not a whole lot of adventuring going on these days, so here’s a few throwbacks from a summer road trip to Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon in Arizona!

In a previous post, I wrote about our separate (and totally different) road trips that we took across the country when we moved from Texas to Oregon. These two stops were some of my favorites. So much so that I sometimes bring up to him how much I want to move to Arizona or Utah for a little bit. Maybe one day!

 

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

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I walked around this place for hours. It was so beautiful.
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Stayed for a dreamy desert sunset. 💛
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Love seeing all the layers.
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I never ever imagined having the opportunity to do this trip by myself, and I am so freaking happy I was able to. 💛💛

 

 

Antelope Canyon, Arizona

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The trucks you ride in on to get to this place.
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There’s a lot more people than I expected!
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Compared to the outside temperatures of over 100 degrees, it was so cool and refreshing in these slot canyons.
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Do you see the bear?!?

On the tour to get to Antelope, I sat next to this beautiful family. They noticed I was alone and was so incredibly friendly by sticking by my side during this adventure. Very grateful my paths temporarily crossed with these folks. I think I even still have the daughter’s phone number somewhere. Anyway, thanks to these three for their kindness and the memories.

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They also took a few photos of me! Hahah

 

You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself. Alan Alda

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.

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

AKP-13

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The wedding party lining up outside my parent’s house before going in. This is the exchange of gifts that each symbolize something unique.
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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.

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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.

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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. 😊
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My friend’s table here had a shot pyramid tower, with money between each shot. Michael’s face describes our feelings perfectly!
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Yes, I’m a little drunk, it’s okay LOL.
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Family cheers!
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Toasts at the cousins table. 😊
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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

 

overlooking the oregon coast.

This weekend, we decided to just go outdoors to get away from the craziness that’s happening in the city and to try to distance us from other people.

We hiked Neahkahnie Mountain and ended the evening with a stunning sunset at Cannon Beach. We did this hike when we first moved here and it was amazing to come back. The view from Neahkahnie is absolutely breathtaking! It’s a little rocky at the top, so if you go, watch your step. Once you find a spot to sit, all you have to do is enjoy the view. 💙

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The hike up to the top!
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Stopping to look at these heart-shaped leaves!
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These were the leaves I was looking at. 💚

 

Neahkahnie Mountain, Oregon Coast

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We made it to the top!
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Loveeeee this view. So peaceful to watch the waves from above.
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Magical.

 

Cannon Beach, Oregon

This is such a classic spot in Oregon. As touristy as it can be, it’s such an amazing spot to visit and spend the evening. Last night was an example of how beautiful it is there. The pinks, purples, blues, yellows, and oranges in the sunset were a sight to see.

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Sometimes you just gotta be a tourist in your own state.

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I see a lot of people being like, “I would survive the coronavirus. I’m taking my chances.”

The way I see it is yeah, I’d survive it. But I might carry it to someone who wouldn’t. And that, folks, is the problem.

There’s a lot of hysteria going on right now regarding coronavirus, which is understandable to some degree. Michael and I both work in healthcare, and I work directly with immuno-compromised cancer patients. It’s definitely weighing heavy on my mind that even though I have a very small chance of becoming severely ill from this, I could potentially carry the virus to my patients. Michael and I are trying to distance ourselves from people as much as we can. The temporary sacrifice is worth it, especially if it can help in anyway.

I’m hoping people are staying safe, being smart, and thinking practically in the next few weeks as it this unfolds even more. 💙

trail of ten waterfalls.

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
South Falls

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Standing behind the waterfall!!! I think this is South Falls…

 

Lower North Falls

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Just a pretty forest view.

 

Lower South Falls

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Double Falls

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This fallen tree is along the path and we wanted to climb it!
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One of the waterfalls in the back. 💙

 

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

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!

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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.”

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