Friday, August 22, 2014

friday photos

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what a whirlwind week after such an exciting wedding weekend.  i certainly can't complain though!

we both took vacation days on monday, fueling up for the week after hosting out-of-towners since the wednesday before. we spent hours in the social security office for 2 hours, (among precisely 50 screaming children), but we discovered yet another pretty darn awesome asian grocery store nearby (the sign just says "asian food", and it's on route 440) just a few minutes drive from our house.  we might go back if for nothing else, just the small custard pies.

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...ok ok maybe for the super fresh salmon steaks too.  that ca kho to (clay pot fish) that hung made on monday hit. the. spot.  keep your fingers crossed that a recipe post comes out of the next batch (guys, it was SO so good)

a few more phone-photos from the wedding weekend and from this week:

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cutting our wedding cake! my nephew wanted that cake SO bad, until we cut into it and he saw that it was chunky and brown (carrot cake).  and hung did NOT want to give me a kiss when everyone started tapping their glasses.  i guess he didn't want to eat my red lipstick?

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we got to see inside the barrow mansion last night for the whoopie awards hosted by the sweetin sisters! did you SEE that mirror!?!? i'm in love.  and that BOWTIE!? gosh he's a cutie. and that couple up there on the left!? they are seriously the best (and own one of my favorite downtown jersey city stores, e.tittlemouse).

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i think i might just leave that little balloon up in my cubical forever.  and remember when hung and i went on a date to BYOB painting classes in april?! yeah, so 4 months later we finally picked the paintings up off of the floor and hung them in the building hallway.  SO much better than what was there before! i'm not even going to show you it was so bad.  a VERY faded print of a girl in a garden that now looks like a creepy ghost (it was trashed the second it came down)

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thanks to everyone for the well wishes for our wedding! this week we got to spend dinner with new friends, dinner in india square with old friends, a night on the town with local creatives at the whoopie awards and TONIGHT...

TONIGHT is the big one! we get to celebrate a new jersey city magazine called EIGHTY at the magazine launch tonight.  we're so happy to be able to support them as they support jersey city grow to what is becoming a very, very great place to live.

happy friday!!


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

the rings

ok ok ok, i know i said i wasn't going to share details until i get photos back from cheyenne, but GUYS! i just can't help it!

first of all, hung decided he wanted a really cool ring.  nothing average from the jewelry store would do.  only a unique, never-been-seen-before style would do for him.  so we set our eyes on pinterest.  after many nights spent pinning mixed metal rings, metal and wood rings, hammered metal rings, brushed finish rings... just when i thought i had enough, we found a jeweler in california that would custom-make their plain silver bands with stones in-layed.  any stone we wanted, any finish we wanted, any thickness we wanted.  we were sold! a quick trip to the jeweler at the mall to find hung's ring size, and those things were ordered!  i told hung he could pick any stone he wanted... he picked emeralds.  no reason (i don't think?) other than he just likes the look of green.

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360 Jewels Elite was so easy to work with.  our rings were supposed to take 6 weeks to make and ship (we had 5 weeks to go), so they sent us "stand in" rings for the ceremony (for a small fee).  luckily for us, though, our rings arrived a week ahead of the wedding! let me tell you, it was hard to keep those things in the box, i just wanted to start wearing it right away. 

in order to get the style we wanted, i just ordered the brushed finish, silver with white-gold-plated pair of bands, specified the thickness (mine is 3mm, hung's is a whopping 10mm), specified the size, and wrote in the notes that we wanted emeralds in-layed flush with the outside finish of the rings.  they messaged me telling me the price of the stones, and the upcharge for hung's extra-thick band, and they sent me another paypal invoice, and we were good to go! 

while the rings we ended up with were pretty simple, they are still unique, and they are definitely "us".  i have decided to wear only my wedding band on my wedding finger, and i've moved the engagement ring to my right hand.  the engagement ring is pretty (it's beautiful, actually), but it's the wedding band that symbolizes our marriage, so that's the only ring for my wedding finger :)

cheyenne took some pretty cool photos of the rings too, so i can't wait to show you how those turn out too!


p.s. what's the best part about these rings? we got them BOTH for under $200! we couldn't find a single one for under that price at the local stores, let alone TWO that are CUSTOM MADE.

Monday, August 18, 2014

we said "i do"

welp, if you're wondering why i've been posting so many sneak peaks into our wedding style, it's because…..

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photo by cheyenne mojica


we didn't talk about it much to anyone other than family and local friends, because we wanted it to be low-key.  we just went to city hall, we had our little less-than-5-minute ceremony, and boom! we were married :)  only our immediate family members were invited, making it a total of 15 of us (plus our awesome photographer cheyenne mojica)! with nearly perfect weather, our normally-sweaty selves were able to snag some great shots with cheyenne, and walk everywhere without breaking a sweat.  as my husband (so weird to say) says, it was because of positive thinking :P

i'm going to spare the details for a future post, once we get some of the good photos back from cheyenne.  i can't wait to share!!

cheers, readers :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

"his" family

"his" family has treated me like one of their own since day one.
"his" family has values that put family before anything else.
"his" family is a bunch of goofballs (and welcomes my goofball-ness too)
"his" family has such rich history that excites me to learn about and become a part of.
"his" family has a bunch of DAMN good cooks (and a mother who tells me the secret recipes)

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....and i'm excited to say that "his" family will soon become "our" family!!


Monday, August 11, 2014


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what's the fun in signing your name with, well, your name?  when hung and i first started dating, i noticed he drew this "face" on everything he signed for his friends or family (cards, wedding sign-in books, etc.)  everyone knows "the face" and quite honestly, i was a little jealous. so i made one too,  seizing the idea as "our thing" instead of "his thing" (sorry babes).  since then, we've been to a LOT of weddings, sent out a LOT of christmas cards, and used these faces a LOT. 

so, why not use them for our wedding? we're practically doing everything untraditional anyways, wouldn't you like to get an invite and a save-the-date with some personality to it? who says you have to have fancy writing and proper embossing and use you "wedding colors"? this is about as personal as it gets! i'm starting with the design above, and work with it to make the invites, the save the dates, the itineraries, any sort of "paper" that goes along with the wedding will have this logo brand... style? (we're not a business, we're a couple)

anyways, when we decided to go down this path, we both decided our faces needed an upgrade to match our looks.  if you remember OOOOLD blog posts i used to sign with this signature:

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those are the faces we've been using for years, but since hung has that slicked back/man-swoop thing going on, and i chopped my hair to a pixie (remember, i talked about our new hair here), the faces needed and upgrade.  no better time than when we get married, right?  i liked the look of these wedding invites, and how the drawn faces were cut off on the side, so i might end up putting a border around the edges to show that it was intentional that the faces were cut off on the side, but for now, you get the idea ;)  when i saw those invites though, i thought it was the PERFECT way to incorporate our "faces" into our wedding.

looking forward to designing the rest of it! for now, we've got to start practicing just drawing these new faces, so next time we're signing the wedding book at the next wedding, we're not holding up the line :P

what do you guys think!? did you do something creative for your wedding invites?

now, if only i had adobe illustrator or photoshop to properly design them! (maybe i'll set aside one weekend and bang everything out within the free trial period!?)


Friday, August 8, 2014

custom wedding earrings from nuda designs

considering i purchased my wedding dress for a whopping $98, i figured i could splurge on the details.  when i told hung i wanted to do custom wedding earrings, i could tell his brain was on a tight rope. "um, sure babe, anything you want", but i know in his head he was thinking "omg, how much is THIS going to cost us!?"

it's not as bad as you think! i mean, i am the bargain shopper of our duo, and i'm happy to say that i got my wedding dress, shoes, custom earrings, and custom wedding band each for under $100. 

i'm no stranger to jewelry from nuda designs, as e.tittlemouse always has nuda jewelry for sale.  i was in love with these earrings, but i wanted a bit more sparkle. 

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luckily for me, gale is super easy to work with, and was happy to modify her design for my special vision! i have a ring i wear almost daily that's labradorite.  i randomly picked it out in a jewelry store in chinatown while on a friends trip to san francisco, unaware of the name of the stone. i just liked that it was a fairly neutral color (mostly gray) with iridescent hints of blue (little did i know hung's friends were onto something when the store was "sizing" my finger for the silly ring i wanted , sneaky girls!!!)

gale quickly sourced teardrop-shaped labradorite stones and went to work!  every few days i'd get an update on the progress (we certainly didn't get that service with the custom wedding bands we ordered on etsy, but we'll leave that story for another post...) when the earrings were finished, she dropped them off at e.tittlemouse for me, so i didn't have to wait for them in the mail.  obviously i picked them up RIGHT after work that same day, opened the box IN THE STORE, tried them on IN THE STORE, and skipped all the way home (ok i'm kidding about the last part, but still, i was excited). i tried them on AGAIN when i got home, AGAIN when hung got home, then i instagrammed them.

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while i wanted to choose a local artist to make my earrings, the good thing about jewelry, is that you can buy it from anywhere! check out the nuda designs website for more of her work, purchase it on, or contact her for a custom design.  obviously i'd recommend her to anyone ;)

the closer we get to getting married the more giddy i get (don't all brides feel that way?)

cheers, and happy friday!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

an evening stroll

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photos via @beyondthestoop on instagram

sometimes i have to pinch myself to know that i live in such a place that i can walk 10 minutes from my house and see views like this.  last night i couldn't make it to kickboxing class because of an eye appointment.  i took that as an opportunity to get some fresh air and walk around the neighborhood (literally, i walked the entire waterfront).  while i knew i'd be out for at least an hour, i decided to forget the headphones, and just take it all in from all senses.  i wish i would have taken some videos just so you could hear the water crashing against the piers and the kids running around and playing.  there's nearly nothing that could take the smile off my face last night...

with couples snuggling on the bike path benches
the sound of kids chasing each other with their tiny giggles
the outdoor bootcamp class being held at the end of the pier
the sunset reflecting on the skyscrapers of manhattan's southern end
the endless different languages being spoken around me
the friends i pass and stop by to say hi
the runners and bikers zooming past me
the old couple slowly strolling hand in hand
the family climbing out of their boat in the marina after an evening boat ride
the sailboats scattered in new york harbor at sunset
the dogs diving into the river water to fetch a ball at the dog park
the music coming from the bar with the bistro lights that you can drive your jet ski up to
the party going on at the square at the train station

sometimes, this city life just can't be beat. i love you, jersey city!


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

one day

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one day i'll have a stoop like that.
one day i'll be taking my evening walks with my kiddos in tow.
one day i'll see the world, taking romantic strolls through the streets of paris.
one day i'll convince hung that it's the cat who's man's best friend.
one day life will feel so easy, so i must work hard for that day now.
one day i'll be able to say "oh, just watering the flowers on the roof deck" when someone calls and asks what i'm up to.
one day i'll actually enjoy that beet and goat cheese salad that everyone is raving about.
one day i'll be an expert at something i'm passionate about.
one day a stoop like that will be the scene for all future phan family photos.
...and one day (soon!) my left hand will match my fiancé's ;)