Its been a year to feel this kind of weather again. It seemed like summer was just here and left quickly. Just told Robert that I can deal with this cold dreadful weather if I can do snowboarding, and will bite my tongue wont complain at all …Snowboarding in Texas that would be something I’m looking forward to since I read an article about them building a sky resort here in Texas soon.

So not like the regular Christmas I have experienced in CA or Saigon, this was my first one in Texas. We had 2 beautiful days for Christmas Eve and Christmas but somehow something is not the same. We put up the tree, got more lights outside, more ornaments on the tree than last year and more gifts underneath the tree. Nikki even got her yummy Christmas gift. Still it’s not the same when you are not celebrating Christmas with your family. I have more friends here in Austin comparing to last year but my heart was divided into 2 parts: 1 big section for California and the other one was for the Saigon Christmases I knew.

On another note, this was our little family first Christmas: Robert, I and Nikki and as us being a married couple with a furry kid! We are heading to New Year Eve tomorrow with a cold freeze coming and us with no solid plan what to do on NYE and that would be okay too!. With this kind of weather beside cold, freezing wind and extra fogging on top I worry that the Austin NYE at Butler Park wont happen. Cuddling inside a blanket with a warm cozy fireplace might be our little nuclear family New Year Eve plan.

What I am looking forward in 2015?

1) Peace for the world

2) Health for my family

3) I want to SERVE, GIVE and BE THE CHANGE!

2015 I’m wishing you the best of love, luck and achieve what you want and hope for, be all you can be 🙂

Christmas-Ball-Happy-New-Year-2015-Images

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Image  —  Posted: December 30, 2014 in thoughts
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November – Fall – even though I can hardly see the color of leaves changing around ATX but with the temperature dropping, it is telling us to put on the fire, extra jacket and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate.

I love this season and of course everyone else does too. Since the holidays is around the corner, I’m conscious about food and being healthy (yes went to the doctor too lol).

Read about how great sweet potatoes can do for our body, here is my summary 9 things it has: vitamin B6, C, D, iron, Magnesium, potassium, natural sugar for bloodstream, high in carotenoids protect against the effects of aging and last you can anything with it like: cook, roast, puree, smoothie, steam, bake or grill….

I’m dedicating sweet potatoes for November. It has colors of autumn, it can be a reminder that we need to be good to our body, and of course it tastes yummy

3 ways I love to cook sweet potatoes for this month:

1) Hasselback Sweet Potatoes: http://www.foodrepublic.com/2012/11/19/hasselback-sweet-potatoes-recipe – this one is so yummy!

2) Sweet Potato Chili: http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2012/01/05/sweet-potato-chili/ – could be great on the rainy days.

3) Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes with honey cinnamon dip: http://www.averiecooks.com/2014/09/honey-roasted-sweet-potatoes-with-honey-cinnamon-dip.html

Try these out and let me know how you like it. Have a sweet potatoes November with love!

Sources: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/9-reasons-to-love-sweet-potatoes.html

Picture: healthfitnessrevolution.com

October is Robert’s favorite month, since it’s his birthday and also month of beer fest.  We decided to drive to Fredericksburg, Texas, nice small German town, which is about 1 hour 30 mins away from us for OktoberFest

After stood in line,  bought tickets, drank some beers, ate some sausages, saw some German walking about, listened to some German music …..realized this OktoberFest is not that big at all but quite nice.

Here is my quick summary of the events.

1) I still don’t know anything about German and their food except their sausages and some of their beers!

2) The outfit they were wearing as shorts made by leather and hot. The ladies in their summer dresses are so cute,

3) There were some art collection there but nothing stood out to me speaking German at all

4) I thought it was a beer fest but guess what they also sold wine, since Frederickburg is surrounding with wineries

5) Thanks to this beer fest I got to try out craw fish sausages! I don’t think this is the German sausage maybe has a Texan twist to it.

6) We tried to get something German or beer fest to bring back but couldn’t fit the hats they were selling so he ended up bought a t-shirt from Fredericksburg Fire Dept. What’s up with that? lol

7) Germans at beer fest are much friendlier than the regular professional Germans? Maybe because it was beer fest and they started out with beer or just had a festive attitude at this event?…

On the way home, we know we must come back here to do a wine tasting day or weekend! If you are looking for a place close to Austin for a day trip, think of Frederickburg.

You can find more information about this city at these links

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fredericksburg,_Texas

http://www.fredericksburgtexas-online.com/

Not sure how you are celebrating your October, but have a cold one and smile!

Glad to find out there is new Vietnamese Banh Mi place in town opened by two Texan born brothers with their love for Southeast Asian food and guess what they are not even Vietnamese! But no worry they got some serious help, Phuong with 100 year old recipe…original owner of Banh Mi Phuong street stand in Hoi An, who was also in Anthony Bourdain “No Reservation”. Told you its serious as name dropping, and 100 year old recipe, but wait a minute …making me wonder how long Banh Mi has been in Hoi An? Or how old is Phuong? Why dont they serve Cao Lau, which is Hoi An dish? Dang banh mi is also serving Pho? That’s a northern dish just in case you dont know. Is this a smart business move for these brothers investors? By combining two favorite Vietnamese  dishes everyone know about at one stop “killing two birds with one stone?” I havent made my way to their place yet. I’m hesitate and doubtful, or just my imagined national pride is blocking my way…dont blame me yet, here is the other story why i am being like this.

Last week, my husband and I decided to try a new Pho place with an opened mind, which is called Phonatic and its good rating at Yelp. Of couse it was a disappointment! Pho broth was weak, little meat and fresh veggies, no bean sprouts, getting your own sauces, chopsticks and napkins…and of course your own drink….thought i was at McDonald or Taco Bell not my local Pho joint. Its not because I dont appreciate the self served section and not because there is no one waiting on me and I gave them bad review. I love the different setting they have even its different from what I know.

Here are my 3 things about them.

1) Its a Pho place, your signature dish is disaster. It is tasteless, got no flavor. Even as a person who doesnt love Pho as much as others, I dont appreciate Pho got no flavor, you have to use all the sauce to make it taste some flavor, as a Pho restaurant you failed! Because Pho is all about the broth, soup, flavor…all in! Nothing but too much noodles.

2) Your Bo Kho, which is beef stew tasted like Pho! This is so wrong, if I want Pho, I wouldn’t order Bo Kho…and Bo Kho is not served with steam bun but with french bread/ roll or noodles. Steam bun is more Chinese or Filipino food…not with our Bo Kho! Again nothing in the stew except too much noodles.

3) The cashier, order taker cant even pronounce the word PHO correctly. Shouldn’t this included in your employees training? Hope they know what they are selling even they cant say it correctly.

Trust me, i held back the comment about their Vietnamese spring rolls!

Okay are you ready for this? Im saving the best for last….Diana Tran, chef who combined the two best Vietnamese dishes into one, which is called Pho sandwich….I havent tried it since she is San Francisco but heard she got good review from her customer. You can read one of the review here http://www.chow.com/food-news/149290/diane-trans-pho-banh-mi-is-amazing/

and she serves her Pho Banh Mi at Muffins Muffins…sounds like a desserts place to me. Is that why they have twice layers of Mayo in their sandwich and no pate?

Muffins Muffins Pho Banh Mi
Layer in order:
French roll bottom half
Mayo
Thinly sliced cucumber
Fresh basil leaves
Thinly sliced beef slathered with a mixture of hoisin and Sriracha
Thinly sliced raw red onions
Thinly sliced jalapeño
Grated pickled carrots
Lettuce
Mayo
French roll top half

I am not sure who I feel about this, keep my mind opened to try some when I get a chance to stop by Muffins Muffins. Totally given the chef for the innovation and for demonstrating power of Vietnamese food.

Note to self “Dang Banh Mi” and “Muffins Muffins” ….

Image  —  Posted: September 25, 2014 in Food

I started a new blog last Thursday for my new passion and love and also for this lovely city which I called home.

1) Finally figured it out ATX meant Austin Texas, kept seeing this short three letters on Web,  news and Craigslist and not sure what it meant until last week lol. It made more sense now everything I come across it and got a chance to laugh at myself and my silliness lol

2) it’s rare to get a chance to get to know a new city you started calling home. How excited is that? I remember first time I created a blog in a way for the same purpose,  document what I experience and have something of my own to read later on. Same as this time,  hope I can keep up with the experience and keep blogging regularly. Let the writer God recruit and consume me turning me into one of her protégé blogger lol.
3) This is a lifetime opportunity.  I don’t think I would ever get a chance to get to know Austin again and real like for the first time. You might get a second chance to know more or the different parts of something but it will never the same experience so I want to enjoy this and hope you will too. Be patient and enjoy the ride huh

Look me at ATX3things.wordpress.com and keep in touch!

Nice weather for a lazy Sunday.  I guess Fall is here taking care of us ❤

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Delicious Tacodeli

Posted: August 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

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Tacodeli was so awesome. Tried the famous Cowboy Taco as the ordering staff suggested, my lips were on fire but very little bits were delicious. Their El Conquistador was less spicy but not any less delicious.
Since 1999, with 5 locations, this Austin original award-winning Mexican flavors local spot hand make from scratch all of their menu items, salsas and sauces and use locally sources and organic ingredients.
What I also love about them is willing to come up with specially new fushion thing so close to my heart called Banh Mi Taco.

Make sure you try that one if you get a chance to stop by this place.

Until next time!

1 Year!

Posted: August 2, 2014 in Uncategorized
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They said first year is always bad. I expected, projected, and waited for it. One year had passed, with many major changes in life, many new experience and the challenges while going through changes.

 

What are the changes you may ask, and here is the list

1) Moving back to California was great, got to live closer to family and saw and talked my parents often than the last 5 years.

2) Shared a room at my college roommate’s house and her three kids along with a very picky babysitter. That was a mixed old and new experience while realizing life didn’t stand by us, but took us for a twisted with dealing both kids and elderly. Of course the kids were much easier than the babysitter lol Amazing to see your college friend with her 3 beautiful children and hear their daily conversation about anything and everything.  It’s always the adorable but handful kids make it easier than the adults

3) GOT MARRIED! Yes i’m surprised too, didn’t plan it, didn’t want it, avoided it for the longest time.

He said: “it took me 5 1/2 years to marry him”

I asked “Were you counting?”

He said “I didn’t have, already knew”

Informed my parents long time ago, not expect me getting married and have kids like other people’s children. It was not on my list at all and didn’t want to put it on for anyone if I didn’t have a good reason to it. I acknowledged that I dislike the idea of getting married but didn’t know its a PHOBIA: lost of sleep, hard to breath, headache, restless and the above.

2 months, yes it took me 2 months dealing with my phobia to sit down, crack my brain to really give it a thought, search for reasons beside loving him and wanting to be with him versus loving and being with him the rest of my life. Now that would be a scary part wont you say? Most of our friends and family would say, what’s the different you guys already liked other marriage couples. I would answer “That’s what would I say, why would anyone want to go through this complicated and troublesome process to get just a piece of paper saying that we are bind to be together” and not even dare to mention the word “FOREVER” … many sleepless nights and trouble days, we DID it in Vegas baby. I’m telling you I’m so glad its over and we only had to do it once in our life. I still don’t understand why people feels like they HAVE to do it or even do it again and again.

4) Community volunteering projects I did
– Operation Turkey, witnessed a lot of turkeys got smoked, checked temperature, moved around, packed and transported to storage and bikini girls serving beers in 20s degrees weather lol.
– Saheli Language Advocate and outreach, trained in Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
– Pink Bus Prevention Examination: breast cancer and other…
– Len Duong Youth Leadership Camp after 5 years being away. It was a treat and motivation to get back and do more
-A.S.I.A Foundation: working with PR Marketing team building new website and brochure
5) Most important: reconnect with old good friends, and making a bunch of young, new and energetic friends.

It was a great year. Counting my blessing daily for these gifts!