Thursday, July 26, 2012

Happy birthday Grandpa! I wished I was old enough to get to know more about you at the time...

Sunday, July 22, 2012


This weekend has been a busy one consisting of a ton of family time and vitamin D.
Two of my cousins came to visit from Australia and they brought their friends and girlfriends along with them. So Steven and I went to meet with them in LA.
On Saturday we left in the morning to have breakfast at Mary's Market. It is a quaint little cafe/antique store within a small hippie-like neighborhood in Sierra Madre. I had the Gio Metro which is a bagel sandwich with eggs, avocado, turkey, tomato, cheese, and onions. Steven chose some type of muffin sandwich that came with salsa. Both were superb and we finished breakfast with an order or yogurt with granola and fruit. The service was amazing as well, the people there made us feel like family. Everyone was very kind and since it was a small community, they knew we weren't from the area and asked us questions.
After breakfast we explored the neighborhood and then went off to Santa Monica.

So I'm a bit of a fish geek and wanted to stop by Nature Aquarium. It's is one of the few stores in Southern California that caters to aquascaping (an art technique of making the illusion of a fish tank to look like a landscape). I will explain more on that later since this is one of my favorite hobbies. Seeing all the tank displays inspired me to start working on my tanks again.
While waiting to meet with my cousins for lunch we stopped by 3rd Street Promenade and checked out the farmer's market and stores.
After having lunch at The Grove, we all headed over to Hollywood.

Today, my family had our annual family reunion. Relatives from all over come to our picnic and we all get to see faces missed. We had lunch and proceeded to our family games. Starting off with soccer, then a water balloon toss, musical "hugs", bike riding, etc. 

photo by Duc Nguyen
photo by Duc Nguyen
A not-so-great attempt at a jumping picture
photo by Duc Nguyen

I think we've had enough sun exposure for the weekend. 

With another addition to my summer adventures, good night!

Friday, July 20, 2012

jars, jars, jars

Over the summer I've grown quite a collection of jars. I find most of them at thrift stores or around the house. They're so useful for projects. But I think I've been so focused on finding them I don't actually use them. Better start before I have too many..

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Steven found a baby lizard at his house the other day and brought it over to show me. He caught it using his sister's bug cage. It was so tiny and cute I was going to keep it since I've caught lizards before. But I ended up placing it in my backyard..

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

FAV #1

Here are some must haves for the summer days (:

[1] ruby red Saltwater Sandals
[2] meow meow cat dress
[3] pack pack
[4] great savings with El Gato!
[5] wind in your hair
[6] for the vertically challenged like me

Friday, July 6, 2012



This past year I've explored my baking palette a bit more and I've added another pie to my list.

The Crust

You can either buy a mix or get a pre made crust but I like to make my own.  For this kind of pie I recommend the non-flaky kind of crust.  I haven't tried many recipes and so I don't have my own but you can refer to this page if you were looking to make your own crust.

The Custard

This was so fun to make. I felt like I was doing a science experiment (fun activity for any child!)

You will need:

Step 1

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup of butter

Step 2

  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
First, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, mix the sugar, milk, cream, and butter. Stirring occasionally, heat until the better is completely melted. In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch, milk, and vanilla extract. Mix well! Once finished, stir into the saucepan. As it cooks it will thicken like magic! Once it is the right thickness, remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F or 200 degrees C.

The Apples

You will need:
  • 2-3 tart apples - peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

From personal experience, I found that Granny Smith apples work best.  Any red apples will get soft and mushy in the oven. When they are sliced you want them not too thick as they will make the pie crust uneven when you lay it on top. 
In a bowl, combine the apples, flour, and cinnamon and mix it all up so that each apple slice is evenly coated with flour and cinnamon. If you love cinnamon like me you may sneak a few more sprinkles. ;)

The Pie

With a 9 inch pan and your pie dough already rolled out, line it flat inside the pan. It's okay to leave the edges hanging out.

Then, pour in the custard into the pan and make sure the mixture is evenly spread around the pie. Arrange the apples on top of the custard.

You can either choose to roll out the second piece of dough and just lay it flat over the pie, but make sure you cut out some small slits on top to let out the heat and pressure. Otherwise your pie might explode in the oven. I chose to try my hand at a lattice crust. You find instructions for a lattice crust here. It may be because I'm an amateur but I found that after I placed my crust, the edges were very rough and ugly. So I took leftover strips and placed them along the edge of the pie, tucking them in to make it look neater.

Put the pie in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes, or until you see the crust is a golden color. Once finished, cool for 30 minutes.
In the mean time....

The Glaze

You will need:
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 table spoon of softened butter
In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour evenly over the pie. I used a rubber baker's brush to make sure I got the whole surface covered.

Lastly, refrigerate the pie for at least 1.5 hours before serving so that the pie holds together. You make warm it up in the oven or a toaster oven before eating.
Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


It's good to be back! Two weeks ago I flew into Denver, Colorado where Steven came to meet me. I was given a warm welcome from him and his cutest brothers. Daniel, 6, and Isaiah, 11, have the funniest personalities. For a week I came to get to know Colorado. I was able to finally meet his dad who joked around a lot and gave me the "Royal Treatment". They definitely made me feel at home. I've never been so grateful to have met such wonderful people and I hope to come back soon. We explored the Red Rocks, downtown Denver, Boulder Creek, the town Steven was born, and I got to see a few thrift stores (My favorite!). Items at thrift shops are ridiculously cheaper there compared to ones at home I found amazing bargains. Some will be added to my shop so please sure to check it out and spread the word! (:
After a tearful good-bye we went on our way to Yellowstone to meet with his mom's side of the family. What was supposed to be an 8 hour drive turned into a 12 hour drive since our cabin was on the west side of the park and we came from the east entrance. With traffic and 130 miles of land, it seemed like forever. By that time we were exhausted and a little worried about not being able to find our way since we were losing signal on our phones and it was growing dark out. I took out the tour guide map and navigated the traditional way. Meeting his family was a blast. Everyone was so goofy and they would apologize for being so crazy then resume their antics once again. Although they figured I'd probably run off after finding out what kind of people they are I think meeting such amazing people the past 12 days has made me  grow to love Steven even more so. 
I will cut the stories short and let you guys take a look at my adventures. 
Some pictures were taken courtesy of my love.

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