Friday, March 30, 2012


Super busy weekend... Today, we are hitting up the King Tut exhibit - yay for marking something off the list - and then Saturday, we are heading to a crawfish boil in Lampasas! Good food and friends. Le sigh. Sunday, Huynh is golfing while the girls go see Annie. I'm going to need two more days to recover.

Oh and can you believe that Sunday is already April? 190 days until our nuptials. Happy weekend!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I made hot tea the other night. I never make hot tea; in fact, I am pretty sure Huynh thought I was making coffee - since, in the Pham household, coffee at 8:00 p.m. would not have been as surprising as hot green tea.

Yup, I drink a lot of coffee. Straight out of the pot with two Splendas or Sweet-n-Lows. I'm easy like that... however, I require, oh three or four cups to get me going most weekday mornings. So, I am on a mission to wean myself off of needing so much coffee and shift to tea. First up is Earl Grey. I'll let you know how this goes.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mimi's Brisket

We had some fun friends and family over this past Saturday to watch the basketball games which gave us a good excuse to bust out the big guns and cook Mimi's Brisket - served, of course, with a side of coleslaw, baked beans, and mac and cheese. Yum-o.

Mimi's Brisket
shamelessly stolen from my mom

2 teaspoons Krazy Mixed-Up salt
4 teaspoons celery salt
2 teaspoons garlic salt
4 tablespoons liquid smoke
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons onion salt
3 teaspoons pepper 
1 bottle BBQ sauce
3-4 lbs brisket

1. Combine all ingredients except for BBQ sauce and spread over meat. Let stand in icebox overnight.
2. Pour BBQ sauce over meat before cooking.
3. Cover and bake for 4.5 hours at 300degF.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Weekend, recap

I'm on a mission to find a cute outfit for engagement pictures which requires me to frequent malls and stores lately. I know it's out there (though I may have just found it this morning already in my closet) but, while I was at Anthropologie during my lunch break on Thursday, I saw The New York Times 36 Hours book which had me at "weekend getaways in 150 cities". Just how I like to travel! Noted.

We also did a lot of wedding research, watched a lot of basketball, drank a couple of beers, and caught up on the first season of Up All Night on Hulu Plus. This not having cable thing is pretty awesome.

Happy Monday!

Friday, March 23, 2012


It's Friday. I was home sick all day which is fine - you know, other than the sick part - but really, it was the combo-headache, allergies, and food truck french fries that did me in.


2012 is going to be a good year! Huynh's cousin (and best man) just popped the question to his girlfriend last weekend with plans to get married Thanksgiving! I am so excited for the two of them. So many things good things are happening that I can't help but be excited. Happy weekend.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


We went to the Wynden the other day to show my Mom and sister the venue and to measure the tables so that we would have a good idea the size needed for the centerpieces.

Of course, I forget the tape measure.

Mom to the rescue. She carries with her the Vera Bradley tape measure - of course not sold anymore but you can snatch it up on Ebay. So cute and incredibly light, it's perfect to keep in your purse for those moments that you need one (there seem to be many). I will be ordering one if I can decide on a color!

Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

China hutch

I love this china hutch. It's not too big, not too small, has hidden storage, and coordinates well with our dining room table. Huynh and I have already discussed (well, more like I just said it and he agreed) that this would be a great anniversary gift we give each other - though even I know that he realizes that is more a gift for me but still. I'm half tempted to snatch it up now since it's on sale.

It sure is fun to look.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Five Things

{clockwise starting top left: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5}

I need to work on our home office - it is a disaster, catch-all, area full of mismatched furniture and messy desks... alas, it is way down on the list to decorate but I still love looking at pretties. I think I need all five.

Happy spring equinox, y'all. Stay dry out there!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Already Monday

I didn't post Friday. My first weekday to skip since September 1. It felt weirdly freeing...

But I'm back and with a lot to cover - most importantly, what my Mom and I covered in the five days we devoted solely to wedding planning! My to-do list grew exponentially, the power of a calendar is amazing, and I am so excited about all that we got done!!

Wednesday, I picked a wedding dress! Huynh has been plugging his ears whenever I talk about it so I won't spill much but I love it. We went to two different stores; at the second store, I tried on a dress that I loved to the point that I told everyone it was the one. However, I had one more to try on so I went back into the room to put it on, stood in front on the mirror, and immediately started crying. It was the one! Mom even teared up a bit ha. We bought it on the spot, took a ton of pictures, and it should be here in August. Thursday we picked out bridesmaids dresses (Lula Kate, Kristyn, in Aubergine) - I couldn't resist the pleated sweetheart neckline! We also decided on invitations (a gorgeous Crane folded ecru white paneled invitation set) and even hit up Dillard's to register for china.

Y'all. I love my china.

We picked Lenox Solitaire White paired with Waterford Lismore Essence crystal. Swoon. I'm already looking forward to pairing it with the Lenox Holiday Tree accent plates. Our everyday dishes we chose are the Wedgwood Nantucket Basket paired with Ralph Lauren Glen Plaid glasses and Lenox Eternal flatware. Hands down, I am most excited about the prospect of dinner parties!

Friday, we headed to Nordstrom's with a stylist to help with shower and engagement outfits. I tried on clothes for easily 3 hours - scored that hot Trina Turk number along with four other dresses and a hot pink Kate Spade cardigan. I couldn't resist :). Then Saturday the flower girls tried on every dress in the store before settling on this adorable tulle Watters and Watters dress. I wish everyone could have seen how excited A and L were to try on those dresses. They felt (and looked) like princesses! Totally worth it.


Back to reality. Good spring break.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Yesssss vera.

Heard of Joss and Main? Of course you have. Then you will also know that the other day they featured Vera Bradley rugs on sale. Vera rugs. On sale. Obviously, much to the chagrin of Huynh, I had to snag one! This 2'x3' slate blooms beauty found it's home in front of our kitchen sink. It's extremely thick and surprisingly comfortable underfoot - helps while we try to stick to our cleaning schedule. It's a-MAH-zing!

Clearly I've been watching way too many episodes of Happy Endings.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dresses galore

It's a crazy wedding week this week - and you thought it was only spring break ha! Today, my mom and I are off trying to wedding dresses; tomorrow, we meet up with Steph and the kids for bridesmaids and flower girl dresses.

I'm totally swooning over that Monique Lhuillier gown. Dreamy.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wedding album

We got our wedding album in; candlelight silk with same color thread of our soon to be monogram. I absolutely love it! Another thing off the list which only added two more - find suitable pens to write in said book; find a calligrapher to letter the first page.

As I gingerly keep this booked wrapped and in the box, all I can think about is how our kids and grandkids will pull this book out to flip through and witness, via this album, our wedding - assuming that DVDs will be extinct by then and we will be unable to fully enjoy the stress of finding a videographer.

Le sigh.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Weekend, recap

We had a really good, family filled, weekend! I was so anxious to get on the road Friday, that I had our path mapped for hours - and it's not like we don't know how to get home. I was just looking at it regardless. 

Saturday, we went to a store in WF that only sells bows. It was seriously a baby girl mecca. Of course, we got to cuddle all of the kids, including the new addition, while they wrestled and played with each other. It was really quite adorable. 

For dinner on Sunday, we stopped at Czech Stop for a poppyseed kolache on our way home. Yum-o.

All too short and sweet. Happy Monday.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Luck of the Irish

Last night we watched Hugo* and Like Crazy which got me to thinking... I have seven movies being released in March alone that I want to see: Detachment, Casa de mi Padre, Jeff, Who Lives at Home, Delicacy, The Kid with a Bike, Mirror Mirror, and, of course, The Hunger Games. Seven. I will basically be living at the theater. Since we have cancelled cable, we have also been watching more and more movies on Netflix. Have you seen Life in a Day? It's an intriguing documentary comprised of selected videos clips from over 80,000 submitted to YouTube all documenting life in 190 countries on one day; July 24, 2010. It's a rather fascinating glimpse at life; how we can be so predictable but yet so unpredictable at the same time. I ended the movie deciding that we were quirky, eclectic, but overall, likable and relatable. For the little over hour and a half, I was immersed in the strangers' lives slowly realizing that for everything that divides us, there are just as many things that unite. 

On that particular Saturday, I was in Amarillo cuddling my nieces so I know I was having a good day :).

Yesterday, we also decided officially on Ireland for our honeymoon! It was really a toss up between it and Switzerland but what it came down to was timing - Switzerland starts really closing down starting in October which would obviously be when we would be there. Sooo, done! Ireland, it is. I even went and bought Frommer's yesterday during lunch because I was so excited. We are leaning towards ten days there so let the planning begin. We head to Wichita Falls tonight to meet Lexie and play with the other kiddos - all six of 'em. It'll be a full house at Mimi and Pop's! Have a good one.

*Watching Hugo counts towards 1 of the 100 movies promised before I turn thirty (no. 12). Yay!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chicken Spaghetti

Okay, so I made this Tuesday; ate leftovers for lunch Wednesday. We officially made that $6ish chicken into eight different meals that don't all have to be eaten in one week! Whereas the Poppy Seed Chicken had most of the breast meat, this recipe had more of the thigh and wing meat so I upped the calorie count a bit - but still not bad. Huynh went back for seconds which made me proud.

Chicken Spaghetti
adapted from Recipe Girl

7-oz thin spaghetti
1 tablespoon light butter
1 cup sliced portabella mushrooms
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 can Rotel, drained
2 cans cream of mushroom soup, 98% fat free
1 cup lowfat milk
8-oz sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
salt and pepper
4-oz pepper jack cheese

1. Melt butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion, and bell peppers. Cook until onions are translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add Rotel. In a medium bowl, mix soup and milk until smooth. Add this mixture to the vegetables in the pan. Stir in cheddar cheese until cheese has melted and smooth.
2. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain pasta and combine with sauce. Add chicken and salt & pepper to taste.
3. Pour mixture into a casserole dish. Sprinkle pepper jack cheese on top.
4. Bake in a 350degF oven for 35 minutes or until the casserole is hot and bubbly.

Again we poured into two 8x8 pans; cooked one, froze the other. We left the cheese topping off the one we froze and will add it on when we are ready to bake. Our serving size ended up being around 1 cup (1/4 of the 8x8 pan - so 8 total servings from the whole batch) which came out to be around 360 calories, 14 grams of fat! The rotel and pepper jack cheese added a slight kick; next time I will probably use hot rotel.

Is it just me or does the sauce look like queso? Yum.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cleaning woes

It's just the two of us. The two of us in a 1650+ square foot house with one four-legged furry beast that delights in eating bones on the rug and jumping on the couch to spread his hair shedding wealth when we aren't looking. The two of us who actually probably only use half of the house - one room and one bathroom stay closed unless we have company, the office is only opened when I'm feeling excited to pin. We wake up in the morning and make a path from the bedroom to the bathroom to the kitchen and out the door, stopping briefly for a minute to feed the dog who by that time is already planning his escape or, more likely, his next nap spot. He prefers to sun in the backyard in the morning, then once it heats up in the afternoon, he moves inside to the coolness of the tile floor. By the time we get home, he has convinced himself that we have been gone for months, were never returning, and that he is starving. Mind you, he's not. He maintains his weight very nicely according to his vet. He needs to get over that... but the point being, while we are gone, he has full reign over his minions in the backyard, which include a stuffed duck and doughnut, and only about a 3'x4' slab of tile right in front of the backdoor inside. With exception taken for when we have the occasional rainstorm and he manages to throw his little 30lb body against his crate to break free to the rest of the house, he doesn't do much to add to the hair dust bunnies in the corners of the house.

Ah yes, the dust bunnies.

I get home at night, and after pretty much making the same path taken upon leaving for the day, I do the daily struggle with what to do. Up there with my desire to not workout is my desire to not clean. Sure I will do the dishes sometimes; I try to wipe down the kitchen counter-tops too. Huynh is good about vacuuming up that pesky dog hair from the living room rug but aside from that, we are both guilty of finding our couch much more comfortable than bending over a toilet and cleaning it. The only time our house gets a top to bottom clean job is on the weekend when we do a marathon cleaning session which is, one, never fun and, two, a great way to waste a perfectly beautiful day. We end up exhausted; I end up napping. It's these days that Huynh is a rock star because not only does he help on the inside of the house, he is also tackling the outside (where I tend to be of no help). I have known something has needed to change for a time now, and even attempted to start a daily cleaning regimen but just nothing ever stuck. And for us, who really only use a fraction of our house, it really shouldn't be that difficult to keep maintained.

Enter Jenny. Yesterday, she posted her cleaning trick and it's ingenious - a chore chart! I agree with her; I become envious when I go over to another friend's house and it is immaculate. I marvel that they found the time to not only clean but look beautifully showered, well-rested, and are wearing lipstick as they greet us at the door with a plate of freshly baked cookies and a tall glass of iced tea. Their house is not only tidy but clean. Sure, I can make a tidy house but the operative word there is clean. I want to maintain a clean house - for me and my sanity.

So we are going to try it. I modified hers a bit to make it more conducive to us. We do better if we gradually do launder clothes instead of waiting until the weekend. Besides, I have to keep reminding myself, it is just the two of us. We don't produce quite the amount of clothing that I know you readers with kiddos produce so laundering a little bit every day works for us. I also know that we can't plan to do anything on Fridays - or Saturdays for that matter. Best to leave the weekend as the weekend.

Tonight starts off with a bang: I have to clean the bathroom. Or rather, I GET to clean the bathroom!!! Oh joy. I will be sure and keep you posted.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Poppy Seed Chicken

I was at a loss. I boiled a chicken over a week ago and still the meat just sat in the fridge. Call it lazy, call it stumped... but I just had no idea what I wanted to do with it. It's shelf life was quickly running out so I needed to do something with it, and needed to do it fast. Enter Meagan. She recommended we try Poppy Seed Chicken from Southern Living. She pins like its her job (ha!) so I knew it would be good - I just needed to make it a little more waist friendly.

Poppy Seed Chicken
adapted from Southern Living

3 cups chopped cooked skinless chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup, 98% fat free
16 oz light sour cream
3 teaspoons poppy seeds
1 pkg frozen broccoli
30 reduced fat round buttery crackers, crushed
1/4 cup light butter

1. Combine first five ingredients. Spoon mixture into 11x17* baking dish.
2. Stir together cracker crumbs and melted butter; sprinkle evenly over casserole.
3. Bake at 350deg for 35 to 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

*We used 2-8x8 baking dishes; froze one, cooked the other. On the frozen one, we left off the topping until ready to cook... meaning that you probably will want to half the crackers and butter above if you plan on taking this route as to not waste extra topping... like I did. Live and learn.

Our serving size ended up being around 3/4 of a cup (1/4 of the 8x8 pan - so 8 total servings from the whole batch) which came out to 270 calories, 11 grams of fat! The non-light route for the same serving size would have been 344 calories, 23 grams of fat - the main culprit being the sour cream. Ouch. I also would highly recommend adding the broccoli. It helps make it more filling without giving up too many calories. Seven ingredients; a quick healthly meal. Yay for leftovers.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Weekend, recap

This weekend was not only packed but went by way too quickly as was evidenced when we both overslept this morning.


Let's get on with this, shall we?

Thursday (close enough to the weekend?), for lunch, I went to La Madeleine. Huynh... well, I'm not sure if he is a fan or not but suspiciously, he always turns his nose up when I suggest it - as I do when he suggests Indian. It's not like I don't like Indian... I just like so many other things SO MUCH better. Huynh has a work lunch meeting every Thursday so I jumped at the opportunity to head over to La Madeleine for a quaint little lunch.

Yes, still on a diet but you will be impressed how this meal broke down:
Reduced-Fat Tomato Basil Soup, Cup
Calories: 120kCal; Total Fat: 9g

Caesar Salad with Chicken, Regular w/ fat-free Caesar dressing
Calories: 420kCal; Total Fat: 20g

So good right? Next time, I am going to get the salad without chicken which brings down the total meal calorie count down from 540kCal to 300kCal and still equally as filling.

And, it just looks so darn pretty.

Friday we went to Goodwill and Half-Priced Books to fill up our bookshelf that Huynh built. We ended up with ~69 books for less than $2 each! We got some classics (Canterbury Tales, Sense and Sensibility), some that we've always wanted to read (some Jennifer Weiner books, Bob Bullock: God Bless Texas, French Women Don't Get Fat), and other randoms (Why Do Men Have Nipples, Frommers: Virgin Islands, Visiting Picasso). We were this close to buying a set of encyclopedias but didn't pull the trigger. Maybe next time.

My guilty pleasure is buying books so you know I was in heaven... especially since we dined on crawfish afterwards. Yummy. By the way, those books only filled up only 1/7 of the bookshelf. Literally. We plan on indexing them. Yup, nerds.

Saturday night, we saw Meagan, Pam, Becky, and all of their significant others for a rowdy game of Kings. Of course, the only picture I took was of my PBR tall boy. This girl has class.

We went with the kids to the rodeo Sunday. The girls went to the concert while the boys rode rides - and won me a toy dog! It was both Anna and Lindsey's first time at a concert and they were mesmerized. All I can say is that young girls shrill scream at octaves only heard by dogs and Big Time Rush looks just like NKOTB. We also saw China Anne McClain who was so cute! And 13. I felt old.

We followed up the concert with a fried twinkie and fried snickers bar. Nice ending to a good weekend.

Friday, March 2, 2012

30 before 30

I couldn't decide between the two plates; frankly, I love them both... so you get both. I had to close the site the other day because I realized that I was just wasting time looking through all of the gorgeous plates they have to offer. Seriously, love.

I turn thirty in 709 days. Thirty, y'all, thirty. I guess I shouldn't feel too stressed about it. In fact, Huynh is already there and he's doing just fine. Turning 28 felt pretty anti-climatic but with all that we have going on during this 28th year of my birth, I can imagine that 29 will be here before I know it then it's all downhill from there!

I kid.

Regardless, I'm participating in 30 before 30!

  1. Get married.
  2. Travel to Seattle.
  3. Travel to Hawaii.
  4. Buy a 50mm lens.
  5. Begin the house search.
  6. Learn Vietnamese.
  7. Wake up earlier.
  8. Photograph and print all three corks.
  9. Lose 20 lbs.
  10. Run a half marathon.
  11. Buy a fantastic new purse.
  12. Watch 100 classic movies. Hugo, The Descendants, My Week With Marilyn, Labyrinth, The Iron Lady, The Philadelphia Story, Pride and Prejudice, Annie, Revenge of the Nerds, Heartburn...
  13. Go to an overpriced concert of someone that I probably would have never attended otherwise.
  14. Wear lipstick and rock it.
  15. Perfect a signature dish that I will be comfortable making for any house guest.
  16. Open the discussion about starting a family.
  17. See the King Tut exhibita
  18. Try surfing.
  19. Learn how to use the manual settings on my camera.
  20. Pay off Texas Exes.
  21. Go hang gliding.
  22. Attend yoga classes.
  23. Go to a drive-in movie.
  24. Double our savings... or triple, quadruple...
  25. Buy a sewing machine and actually learn to use it.
  26. Send birthday cards.
  27. Ride a motorcycle.
  28. Try snowboarding.
  29. Reach 200 followers.
  30. Party to celebrate dirty thirty!
So, some of them are a given. We are getting married (no. 1 - soon! 218 days); I cheated because we are already planning on going to Seattle (no. 2) Labor Day weekend for a family wedding. However, neither of us have been and both of us have always wanted to go. My sister is debating going to Hawaii (no. 3) for her 40th birthday and we are fully intending on tagging along and learning how to surf (no. 18). We have to learn how to wake up earlier (no. 7). Just the other day, Huynh set his alarm to go off at 5am, got up and headed to get ready. I laid really still hoping that he would forget that I existed only to have him come back to bed and snooze for 45 more minutes. We were really tired?

We have one out of the three corks (no. 8) that I would like to photograph; the other two are forthcoming. We have signed up for the Houston half marathon (no. 10 - next January!) and yes, I already bought my ticket to see Madonna (no.13). Very overpriced for the nose bleeds but it's MADONNA. Huynh already went hang gliding (no. 21) in Brazil which means that I have to try it in someplace just as fabulous. I also have to try snowboarding (no. 28) in exchange for Huynh trying to ski. We'll see how that goes.

Oh, and our definition of "classic" movies (no. 12) includes anything from Gone With the Wind to Ghostbusters. We like to define it loosely.

Not one to give up on any promises made, I figured that it was also about time we gave an update on our resolutions. We don't wake up at 5:30 - see above - it's more like 5:45 for Huynh, 6:20 for me. We aren't working out quite six days a week but it is definitely an improvement on last year. We have completely cut out drive-thru, including Sonic drinks, though! I have slightly started to learn Vietnamese; I've read 2 books. Huynh has indeed been talking to his family more and drinking less. We both have been cooking more and really enjoy our time together carpooling... sometimes. We are eerily quiet in the mornings.

Becky and Aaron are here tomorrow; Rodeo Sunday! I'm ready for quality friend time. Happy weekend.

Thursday, March 1, 2012



I am drawn to these tubs like moths to a flame. If I were to redo a bathroom, I would go with subway tiles up to the chair rail, metro hex tiles on the floor, honed marble countertops (heck, may even go with marble floors) and that. A claw foot tub painted neon. I love the green but could probably only sell Huynh on blue, though secretly I would wish that he would let me paint it hot pink. 

Regardless it would be amazing.