Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Attempt for Organized Lifestyle: Guest Bathroom

We have a small guest bathroom, and would like to have some storage. Bought a wall shelf with towel bar from Wal-Mart, but it’s getting messy over time. Recently I added these baskets from HomeGoods and it looks so much better; they were only $7 each.



Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Capital Home and Garden Show

Over the weekend, I went to "Capital Home and Garden Show" at Dulles Expo Center. Saw few things that I like, but end up didn't get it. Got a free measurement tape  from HGTV, and picked up few ideas so I was happy camper.

Landscape ideas:

Love this cute little waterfall with tulips, and I'd love to have the wood gate in the back for my patio.

I think this is do-able!

A very neat idea, behind the frame are real plants.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hen Xuc Banh Da (Baby Clams with Rice Crackers)

This will give you two big plates, ideal appetizer for party 8-10 people.

Warning: I like spicy so this recipe will be spicy, adjust the amount of pepper and chili/chile powder according to your taste.


3 big cans baby clams
1 lb pork belly (diced) (you can also use crumb up bacon for quick version)
3 white onion (diced)
6 garlic cloves (minced)
1 bunch of scallion (diced)
1-tablespoon 3 crabs brand fish sauce
1-tablespoon chile powder
1-teaspoon ground chili 
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1/2 tablespoon mushroom seasoning
1/2 tablespoon shrimp paste
2-tablespoons vegetable oil
5 fresh red chili, (thinly sliced)
1 cup coriander leaves (chopped)
2 Lemon or lime
4-6 Rice Crackers

Friday, February 24, 2012

Capital Home and Garden Show

Spring is in two months and I am motivated for a nice garden. Last year Mr.K was nice enough to plant the seeds to grow yellow tulips and Hyacinth (Hyacinthus), and good thing is that they're coming back this year.

However, I would love to have an awesome garden and landscape; knowing it will take sometimes, so in the search for ideas. Not sure it’s do able because we have few hug trees in the backyard and the roots are everywhere.  I am excited that we will be going to the “Capital Home and Garden Show” this weekend (Thanks to the bro-in-law for the tickets). Hope to pick up some ideas for the home and garden projects.

It's Friday! Cheers!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Places I've Traveled To and Some of the Highlights

Here is the list where I’ve traveled out of the country.

From the list you probably figured out that I like white sand and clear water.

I think I should move to somewhere that’s warm all the time, because I’m anti the cold weather. However, I do love the three other seasons that we have here.

Want to know my first impression of every places I've visited?  “I want to move here!”

Some of my highlights:

On top of Haleakala National Park (10,023 feet) gazed upon the dark sky full of bright stars, then 1½ hour later got to see the amazing sunrise; that was priceless. It was quite of a journey, woke up at 2am, drove for 2 ½ hrs on the most dark, curvy, dangerous road ever (kudos to Mr.K driving skill), suffer few hours in the cold; but it’s all worth. It’s like once in a life time. I wish I had a powerful camera to captured what I’ve seen to share (and I’m not even sure if powerful camera can capture the beauty that I’ve witnessed), but all I had was a point and shot so please use your imagination.

Sunrise on top of Haleakala National Park

I have to say I was in love with St. John's Beaches. I felt like lost in paradise, the mountains surround, really white sand, clear water in different range of turquoise blue, it’s magical.

So where have you visited? any recommended?

I would love to read some of your travel highlights, please do share!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chim Cuc Nuong Sa (Grilled Quails with Lemongrass)

For 8-10 people


3 packs of 1 lb quails (each pack have 6 quails, total of 18 quails)
3 fresh Lemongrass stalks, chopped (about 1 1/2 cup, you can also use the frozen kind). Here is instruction how to use Lemongrass
10 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 1/2 tablespoon)
½-tablespoon black pepper
½-tablespoon Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce
1-tablespoon Curry Power
1-tablespoon Black Sweet Soy Sauce by Dragonfly
1-tablespoon Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce
2-tablespoon 3 crabs brand fish sauce
1-tablespoon Mushroom Seasoning
½-tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1-big white onion, diced
1-teaspoon Parsley Flakes

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday Temptation: Fashion

Monday was a federal holiday, and it was my lazy recovery from the weekend day. But stay tuned for a new recipe coming tomorrow. Meanwhile here is what I have my eyes on.

For #5, 6, 7, I love all 4 colors, give me a set of each :). But I’ll start with a combination of one #5 orange, one #7 white, one #6 orange.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Feature Friday: Web Blogs

Where do you get inspiration for your projects, it could be any type of projects; either big or small, work or home? Is it a person, object, website, blog, place..ect. I'm interested in the sources of your inspiration.

Here is my list in a wide range of topics:

  • a web/graphic designer, I think she's very talented and her tutorials are awesome.
  • a couple blog about food, travel with magnificent photography skill. They have an amazing garden that I admire so much. Reminded me of the time in Vietnam we were farmers and I loved, not sure if my family felt the same because they worked hard and I hardly work.
  • she is my motivation to get organized. In a big pictures organizing seem overwhelm, but I'll start 1 small project at a time.
  • she is my motivation for DIY and make my house looks pretty on budget.
I definitely have more to share, but just want to highlights these few people that I've found thanks to the internet/technology.

    Thursday, February 16, 2012

    Travel Thursday

    Here is my top 5 travel destinations wish list:

    1. Tahiti (Bora Bora)
    2. image from
    3. Greece
    4. Europe tour
    5. Caribbean (hit up all the islands)
    6. Viet Nam (better yet an Asia trip)
    Let me stop day dream!

    Wednesday, February 15, 2012

    DIY: Candle Holder Tray Decor

    Hope everyone had a nice valentine’s day yesterday. Our was nice and low key, originally we planned to cook at home. But decided last minute to go out for dinner at our local typical restaurant “Full Kee VA”, just because we wanted a good meal without being overcrowded and long line. We had drunken crab, tripe combo, Chinese watercress (rau muong), it was yummy filling dinner. Our 4 legs child wasn’t feeling good last night, we spend the rest of the night cuddle up with her. So what did you do for valentine?

    While I'm on the valentine topic; Valentine wouldn’t be the same without roses, candles and chocolate right? (well may be for some people). Anyhow, I like to show you how I put together my candle tray.
    Candle Holder Tray Decor

    Tuesday, February 14, 2012

    Pho Tai Gan Sach Bo Vien (Beef Noodles Soup with Tendon, Tripe and Meatballs)

    I made Pho over the weekend for the family for lunch after Sunday's mass, and it's a best left over for a lazy Monday night. So here goes the recipe.

    Pho tai gan sach bo vien (Beef Noodles Soup with Rib Eye, Tendon, Tripe and Meatballs)

    Make 12-14 bowls

    Ingredients for the both

    10-bls beef bones
    4-bags of Fresh rice stick noodle
    1-lb of tripe
    2-lbs rib eye (pre-sliced)
    2-lbs meatballs
    3-large white onions
    3-large pieces ginger
    4-1 inch chunk sugar
    1-bag spice seasoning (old man que Huong brand)
    1-bag mixed spices (double golden fish brand)
    4-tablespoons sea salt
    6-tablespoons fish sauce 3 crabs brand
    4-tablespoon mushroom seasoning
    1-tablespoon sugar

    Ingredients for garnish and addition plate to placed on table

    Bean spout
    Leaves of thorny cilantro
    Lime wedges
    Jalapeno pepper or red chilies
    Sriracha hot chili sauce
    Hoisin sauce
    2-bunch of scallions cut into thin rings
    1-bunch Cilantro (chopped)

    For the broth

    Charred white onions and ginger in oven for 10 mins on broil, remember to flip the other side. Removed from oven, let it cool, pill and rinse.

    Parboil bones to get rid of smell and discharge
    Use 20 quarts stockpot, add 5 quarts water, 1/2 cup vinegar, 1-tablespoon salt and bring to boil on high heat. Place the bones in and cook for 5mins.
    Dump bones and water in the sink, rinse the bones. Clean stockpot.

    Uses the same stockpot fills with water 1/2 way up (10quarts) on high heat bring it to boil. Add bone, ginger, rock sugar, and white onions, low down the flame to med-low for simmer 3hrs. Remember to scoop out the fat layer on top occasionally.

    After cook the broth for 3 hrs, the soup had been simmer and I scoop out a big bowl of fat and now I have more space to add 2 more quarts of hot water, combined the 2 bags of spices (I pan roast them first), salt, fish sauce into the pot and simmer for 2 more hrs. Remove the bones from stockpot. Do a final taste, add more salt, fish sauce or sugar if you prefer.

    Pho tai gan sach bo vien (Beef Noodles Soup with Rib Eye, Tendon, Tripe and Meatballs)

    Monday, February 13, 2012

    Dining Room Mood Board

    We have purchased the house for almost two years; live in for more than a year. I have to tell you we are nowhere near done with decoration. Buying a house is expensive, although at least you do not have to pay all at once, but fill up the house is a killer.

    Our FY2010 focuses were renovated the house (because it was not a living in condition), get curtains (I cannot stand empty house with shadows), wedding, honeymoon.

    FY2011, we started to invest in a few pieces of furniture. After trial and error, I wish I didn’t purchase all the curtains for the entitle empty house back in 2010; because some of the curtains I no longer want to use but it’s a waste if I switch them out.

    FY2012: So from now on, I will focus on decorating one room at the time. Here is my mood board for the dining room to keep me on track; it is probably going to take a long time to get all the items because of budget. However, I will rather wait then just buy random stuff and hope it will match up.

    I’ve chosen “Chili Pepper” from for the wall back in 2010, and still loving it.

    Dining Room Moodboard

    1. Overstock Table  (Our table is similar to this one. We got the table from a friend(thank you anh Nguyen family!), there were a few ware and tear so we took on the task to restored the surface and re-stained in a cherry dark brown to match with our kitchen cabinets)
    2. Overstock Chairs (got 6 of these chairs, although they’re not as tall I as wished, but still love)
    3. Zebra Plum Rug (still need)
    4. Cabinet  (still need)
    5. Curtains  (I really like these, but as I mentioned above that I had already purchased the curtains and they are plain beige. Which works out perfectly)
    6. Some type of wall gallery for the empty (forgot where I got the image from) (this one is a project by itself and another post, I need to collect frames and photos/arts)
    7.  Vases (still need, these are great additional pop of colors)
    8.  Chandelier (still need, not the exact one that I want, but this will do until I find “the one”)

    Friday, February 10, 2012

    Feature Friday: Leilani

    Leilani - my 4 legs child!

    She was my early “best” x-mas present ever from the hubby on Dec 16, 2010. She’s a full grow Maltese with a very playful, friendly, energetic, lick, and considered personality. I love having her, and we’ve been through a lot with up and down moments. She keeps me company when the hubby used to work second shift, she comforts me when I’m sick, and she motives me when I’m down. I remember one time I was really sick, and all I want to do was rest. Well with her playful/energetic personality, I thought it might be hard. But to my surprise, for a whole week she was perfectly fine with laid next to me on the sofa and watch TV, from time to time she would gives me a kiss/lick just to check up on me.

    I present you with few photographs of her:
    First day with me!
    Few months after.

    "wink" mommy!

    Recent..all grown!

    Thursday, February 9, 2012

    Canh Cha Ca Mang Chua (Fish Paste with Bamboo shoots soup)

    At Mr.Gary (yes I named my house) we I cook almost everyday. I've 45mins to 1 hr before the hubby come home for dinner. I always try to wipe up something quick and yummy, so I'll be sharing with you series of recipes.




    1. In a 5 quarts pot, sauteed the white onion with veg oil;  pour in chicken both and water, bring to boil. Add pineapple, bamboo, tum yum paste, and sugar. Cook med heat for 10 mins.
    2. While still cooking the soup; Use a teaspoon to scope the fish paste (semi looking fish balls) and drop into the pot of soup. 
    3. Once you're done with that, add tomato and cook for another 10 mins or until the fish is cook.
    4. Taste and add more salt/ fish sauce and pepper if you prefer,  garnish with cilantro. Eat with rice or rice noodles. 

    Wednesday, February 8, 2012

    Singapore Noodles

    Over the weekend, I've made "Singapore Noodles" my way. The trick is I used fresh turmeric roots (instead of curry power), it gave a really aromatic kick to the flavor.

    Tuesday, February 7, 2012

    Tuesday Temptation!

    I've been loving the Nordstrom colorful scarves collection, but can't justify to buy some because of the price tags.
    images from
    Wait, I've found something in my price range, will probably get this. (in purple)

    Friday, February 3, 2012

    FY2012 New Year's Resolutions!

    It’s beginning of Feb and I’m just posting my resolutions. However, I’ve started on a few items; such as purchased the domain name for my blog, started on "Shaun T's Rockin' Body - 7 Workouts Set" for a week now, and been drinking less.
    1. Create a personal portfolio
      • Website: Design, develop, and get domain name/host
      • Blog: get domain name, design new look and feel, keep up with posting.
    2. Get Organized/Home Organized
    3. Exercises/Stay Healthy (back to zumba)
    4. Training/ keep up with new trend on Web Design
    5. Get a SLR camera
    6. Read more books
    7. Learn/try something new 
    8. House Projects
    9. Knitting/craft/origami
    10. MacBook Pro with Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection or Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Design Premium
    11. Help Others
    12. Travel to places we've not been
    13. Spend more time with family & friends
    14. Drink less/better yet quit drinking

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