Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Thursday distraction

It's been a while since I posted a 'distraction' post hasn't it?

I know I should really be posting these for a Friday afternoon, because I sure know how I love link-heavy blogs come the end of the week.

How about you bookmark me and come back when you need to. I'll be here. I will always be here to distract you... and inspire and entertain you. (woops, I might have copied a bit of my own wedding vows there)

First up, I just loved reading this piece on living in New York City by Cup of Jo. It's both hillerious and helps with the NYC envy all of us not living in NYC have.

I adore this colorful blog 'Capture the Colour' by Text Sketches. She's challenged me to do something similar and have I've been meaning to post my own version soon! You should do it too and tell me all about it!

My blog-crush the Everywhereist share her ever applicable blog writing wisdom having just posted her 1000th blog post. Clever one that girl.

A Beautiful Mess recently talked about doing the 4 simple goals project. And I'm such ABM groupie, I'll do what ever they suggest I do. (Just like I did the 30 selfie challenge and am still working on my very own DIY braided rug).
Here are my four simple goals:

I've tried to find fairies in this magical post by my pal Willful/Joyful, she camped in what looks like an enchanted forest and I want to go there now!

This lovely post on Gratitude by Tulips and Flight suits is inspiring. I want to be more intentional about finding opportunities to love on people, and help.

The adorable Owl Eccentric shares a Cher make up tutorial. Which has since made me wonder if should go as Katniss meets Cher for the upcoming Halloween party.

We finally went on a corn-maze adventure. Another solid tick off the 'things I need to do in America' list. My favorite fellow foreign bride Chestnut Mocha posted about it.

Also, my new hair cut that's not so new anymore. Why can't my hair always look like this? Why?

That's it for now x

Monday, October 28, 2013

just a quote...

Even after all this time
The sun never says to the earth,
"You owe Me."

Look what happens with
A love like that,
It lights the Whole Sky.

- Hafiz, from The Gift

Wednesday, October 23, 2013



I want to not hate Mondays.
Or waking up on weekdays.

I don't want to live for the weekend.
And post Garfield memes about how I'm glad it's Friday.

I want to know I'm working towards something more than a paycheck.
Or, a raise, a title, a higher tax bracket.

Two weeks a year to fit a South African trip into.
With 3 days each way included, just to recover. 9 days to connect and breath.

Nope, that's not what I want.

Call it the hopeless idealism of a millennial.
Call it what you want.

It's not that I don't want to work hard.
I want to work really hard (and I will)

I just want to know that it's possible. Just tell me I can do it.

Or tell me I'm crazy. But rather tell me I'm brave.

This is by no means supposed to be a poem, it's just what I've been thinking about these days and it's shaping my decisions.  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Anniversary camping and my brilliant new plan

What if...

Instead of one special day celebrating the wedding anniversary we celebrate 'honeyversary'.

What's a honeyversary you ask?

Just this exceptionally smart idea I've had where you celebrate your honeymoon too.Spend the same amount of days traveling as you did on your honeymoon. Go beautiful places, be romantic, be together.

How is this not a thing people?

Well this year, being newly weds and all, we practiced by going on an over-night camping trip the day before our wedding anniversary. So really that doesn't count, but I'm determined to make honeyversary our tradition from next year on.(Where should we go!!)

We also said good bye to camping for the rest of the year. Ending it the way we started, in barely above freezing evening temperatures, all huddled by the fire, snuggled up in a a few dozen blankets, warming hands with bad tasting camp coffee. Oh the best! I'll miss it for a while.

Also, it's a strange thing to get married in the Spring, but celebrate in the Fall.
(We got married in the Southern Hemisphere see)

A few shots from this past weekend:

Monday, October 14, 2013

One year- also, a lifetime.

New Years Day 2012, you'd think there should've been snow on the ground, but New York managed to be freezing without. My favorite person in the world casually (or so I thought) suggests we sit down on an unassuming Central Park bench. You know, the kind that's dedicated to the loving memory of someone who used to loved sitting on park benches in Central Park.

We had both been feeling the weight of the evening approaching. When we'd kiss each other good bye at the JFK airport, unsure of how and when we'll be together again.It was the toughest time, in our approaching three years together. Not knowing where we'll be together again. USA? South Africa? Back in Vietnam? Oman? This year, next year...

I was so preoccupied with how to make these last few hours count that I hardly saw Ben's next move coming. A move he's been thinking about for months and months and years if you want to count that. He proposed. I'm not sure if it was seconds or minutes or a lifetime that hung in the suspense of the question leaving his heart and the 'yes' that I finally managed to get out.

Becoming this man's wife was exactly what I was supposed to do, and ten months later out in the fields with roosters crowing in the background, rain clouds holding their breath in the air and a handful of the best people we knew witnessing, I did.

What I wasn't sure of was how it was all going to come together, on that dedicated Central Park bench, I had no idea.

Yesterday marked our first year of marriage. We can't decide if it has felt like a year or felt like just the other day. I guess it feels like both. I thought a lot about how thankful I am for this man, how happy he makes me, how I find myself more in love with him today than a year ago in the open fields, or a few years ago in the crazy streets of Hanoi.

Through all the love and thankfulness and looking forward to our first non-whole30 meal I was vividly reminded of the promises of God. The ones He gave me as a young teenage girl thinking about the kind of husband she wants, the ones I held onto in some crazy twenty something years and then the ones from those early engagement days. The promise that He will make the way, that I can trust Him, that He will not fail, just like He has never failed before. I really needed to be reminded of this, so that (trusting) in some time I look back on these weird days, and say, I had no idea what I supposed to do, but He showed me the way. Starting over in America is no joke sometimes.

This guy, I go where he goes.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The wise lessons you'll learn come day 17 of the Whole30

We're on day 17 of the Whole30 and I've been wanting to tell you about it for so long. For some odd reason, whenever I get a 'solid blog topic' in my head for lanlettie I get all plan-y and imagine it will take hours upon hours to put it all together.

I have since gotten over this out-of-nowhere, self inflicted pressure. So let's move on.

Whole30 yes. Basically take 30 days and cut out everything you've ever come to love and depend on. Or as the less dramatically inclined would describe it 'cut out stuff that's bad for you'. That means no sugar (obviously), gluten in any form, preservatives and additives (most), legumes and dairy... FOR 30 WHOLE DAYS.

Actually it's not as hard as it sounds at all. Here are a few things I've learned from this challenge so far:
+   Planning is key.
We know ourselves well enough to know that leaving meal ideas till the last minute will be setting our hopeful healthy selves up for failure.  So we made a two week meal plan. We're clever like that.

+   Simplicity is key:
At first, when I was researching the idea of taking on the whole30 I came across so many recipes that looked good enough to eat, but with exotic ingredients I've never heard of (and most likely won't be able to afford at that snooty health hippie store anyway). So we took a few meals we already enjoy that were approved and sprinkled them about our two week meal plan. Some meals we needed to leave out a few ingredients or replace things. Like leave the yogurt, add the coconut milk.
A big favorite around here is pork steak with sweet potato wedges and my famous Indian food. We have also since found a few easy and delicious meals to add, I should share those with you some time.
+   There is sugar in EVERYTHING.
I didn't think cutting out sugar would be that hard for us. We enjoy an occasional ice-cream but aren't sweet lovers really. But you guys! There's sugar in everything. Of course doing this challenge you become that yuppy in the grocery store scanning every label before you buy.  There's sugar in canned veggies, frozen veggies, jarred olives, taco seasoning, salsa, bacon and the list goes on. So there's some food for though for you.

+   Coconut milk in coffee is better than milk.
That's all.

+   If you've got 'what's for lunch' sorted, you're basically the winner at this game.
Lunch is the hardest part, because you can't rely on sandwiches, left over pasta or the occasional deli take away. We've been doing pretty well so far, planning our dinners so that there's always enough for lunch the next day works. Also slow-cooker weekend prepared meals are the best thing ever.
Speaking of...

+   My slow-cooker (crock pot) is the best thing ever!
We've definitely been spending more time in the kitchen on this meal plan. Lot's of prepping.  There have been times where we're cooking two dinners at the same time. But come that horrid Tuesday, after a long day at work, and you just need to heat your delicious Thai chicken curry and make some cauliflower. Your life will make perfect sense again. That's how I feel about it anyway.  Ben's prepping a slow pot roast for tomorrow as I type this. What a man.

+   Cauliflower is the new rice and squash is the new pasta.
It's not all bad, it's not all bad at all.

+   Sleep is more fun.
I'm not a good sleeper, in fact I often lie awake at night giving dirty looks at my peacefully snoozing husband as I battle to catch up on some good ol sleep. So far, I've definitely noticed the difference. I feel like I just sleep deeper and get more out of it. This is a welcome welcome addition.
I've also noticed that I wake up faster. Look, I dislike getting up and have to deal with an internal child that whines ' I don't wanna go to school today' almost daily, but once I'm up I feel like I'm present. It's like I actually have mornings before work lately. 

+   Skinny jeans feel better.
Let this be made clear: We're not on a diet! However, cutting out bread and beer for over two weeks does have it's advantages.

+   People might not get it.
They might think you're just following the latest fad or going on some crazy diet. It's not, it just makes sense to me to make better choices about our health. Whole foods= good, processed food =bad. So we're simply kick starting healthier habits while giving our bodies a well deserved break from dealing with a bunch of crap.  

+   I can't wait to bake cupcakes!
What was I saying about crap? I forget. Strange thing is, I don't really crave something specific, like you'd imagine 17 days in. What I do want it to bake. Bake beautiful pastries that's worthy of littering my instagram for the next two days. So I'm finding that kind of unexpected, because I honestly didn't bake that much before.

+   I will make banana pancakes for as long as I shall live.
It's not really pancakes. It just happens to look like pancakes. Basically you mix one ripe banana with two eggs and then you pan fry them for two minutes. You might want to add a dash of coconut milk and sprinkle of cinnamon, paired with black berries. This may or may not change your life.
So would I recommend you do it? Absolutely! Is it hard? I promise you, it sounds harder than what it is. What helps me is thinking about that glass of wine I'll have at the end how I'm further today than where I was yesterday. I imagine, what if I only started today, then I'd have 30 days to go, but I started 17 days ago and now I'm more than half way there!

We hope to take what we've learned on this challenge and apply it to our normal meal plans, so really, I can't imagine our eating habits changing much after this comes to an end. Only there will be the occasional cupcake, or cocktail or night out to restaurants where they have (gasp) sugar on the table!