Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts

Thursday, January 8, 2015

taco tuesday - orale mexican kitchen in jersey city

taco tuesday.  it's like it's too silly of a name to actually do it... except... when you REALLY like tacos, and you REALLY like the tacos at a restaurant just blocks from home, and you REALLY like a good deal.....  YOU DO IT.

hung and i stayed in jersey city for christmas in 2013.  christmas eve happened to be taco tuesday at orale, so it was the obvious choice for a little date before christmas after ice skating at newport skates.  the tacos are half off, guys.  i think it makes them even tastier knowing that they are half off.

we had such a great time that we decided to make it a tradition:
"taco tuesday on the tuesday before christmas"

some people open one present on christmas eve, some people go to church, some people always go to grandma's house.  our tradition is that we eat tacos.  weird? maybe. fun? definitely!  the rule is that if christmas falls on a tuesday, we're making tacos for christmas dinner.

...but tacos at orale in downtown jersey city just hit the spot though.  this year hung ordered the peking duck tacos, and i ordered my normal vegetarian ones (even though i'm not a vegetarian, they are my favorite!!)  i got there late, but hung had already made friends with the bartender, and had a few drinks down, when i got there.  he already ordered the esquites (like a hot corn and cheese salsa) and the baked cauliflower (who knew that grapefruit and cauliflower could pair well together!?)

beyond the stoop at orale mexican kitchen, jersey city

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

wine cork garland

pinterest gets the best of you sometimes, "making" you save all these tiny scraps of stuff so you can (forget to) finish a project in the distant future.  i think my husband might burst if i save the scraps of any more crafty projects (though i can never have enough yarn, i do everything BUT knit with it lately!)

one that finally came to fruition this past holiday season was wine cork garland! sure you can go to a thrift store or ebay or amazon and buy wine corks and make it now, but what's the fun in that? don't you want to DRINK the wine the corks came from?  i had been saving them for about 3 years, and i finally had enough to string them and hang them on the tree!

DIY wine cork christmas tree garland

it's as simple as drilling a hole through the long end of the cork and slipping a long piece of fishing line through it (i bought the 50 lb fishing line, but now that i have it maybe that was overkill.  the good thing is that the fishing line is stiff so it usually went through the hole in the cork without a needle).  i started off holding the corks with pliers to keep my fingers away from the drill bit, but ended up just using my fingers to go faster (oops!).  i also started off with the tiniest drill bit, but soon realized that a larger hole didn't hinder the cork, and the fishing line was WAY easier to slip through without a needle if i used a bigger drill bit.

DIY wine cork christmas tree garland DIY wine cork christmas tree garland

i drilled a few corks, threaded them on the line, drilled a few more, threaded them on the line....  i didn't want to get too far ahead of myself because sometimes i would need to redrill the hole if the fishing line got stuck.  i just tied the end of the string in a knot around the wine cork on each end to finish the string of garland.

the finished project turned out so awesome! well... for about an hour and a half worth of my time anyways.  maybe next year i will take it apart and put some poms between some of the corks or something fun like that ;)

nearly free and lots of character. those are the kinds of projects i like to do!  it's such a simple project that i didn't think it needed a lot of explaining, but if you have further questions, just ask!

pin this now, so you remember it next year when you have enough corks to string on your tree ;)


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

an unexpected new years eve

our original plans were to stay home, relax, hopefully make it to midnight to see the ball drop but if not i wasn't going to be upset.


drinking champagne and getting out of work early seemed like a good idea.
going straight to orale for margarita's seemed like a good idea.
stopping at e.tittlemouse to say hello was definitely a good idea (the wine there? maybe not)
drinking a few MORE drinks at home was just to keep my streak going.
heading out for more wine was (while we definitely had a great time) may have not been the best idea.

at least our NYE was fun while it lasted!!  the next morning? (ok ok the next whole day)… not so much.

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great company, fantastic pasta from pasta dal cuore, great night. thanks for the impromptu NYE celebrations, e.tittlemouse!  my new years resolution is to NOT be hungover on New Years Day next year :P

happy new year everyone!

Friday, January 2, 2015

hangover food - vietnamese rice porridge recipe

i know i know, sometimes those two words just shouldn't be in the same sentence.  the thought of food makes you want to snuggle up more under those sheets and close your eyes in hopes of all the pain going away by the time you wake up.... 

anyone else have that feeling yesterday morning? that feeling where you start questioning yourself on everything you did the day before. why didn't i eat a solid breakfast? why did i drink champagne at work?  why did i accept that free shot of tequila from the bartender?  wait, why didn't i eat a solid meal all day on a day that i drank more than i ever do?

by the time you reach age 27, you should have this plan mastered by now, you KNOW how to avoid a hangover.....  but sometimes a big hangover creeps up on you like you just got smacked upside your head.

so here comes the best hangover food to the rescue.  i just thought it was a delicious bowl of rice porridge, until my mother-in-law convinced me it's hangover food. simple as this, she said "when my kids go out drinking all night, they need to eat this in the morning."  ok, we'll do just that.  mama knows best!

Vietnamese Rice Porridge Recipe

vietnamese rice porridge
(aka best hangover food ever)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground pork
1/2 medium red onion, diced

8 1/4 cups of water
1 cup white jasmine rice
2 chicken bouillon cube
1 tablespoon sugar

3 cloves of garlic, grated
3 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoon ground white pepper
3 stalks of green onion, chopped
heat large pot over medium high heat.  add olive oil, then add ground pork and diced red onion.  add about 1/4 cup of water to the pot so the ground pork gets cooked, but not browned.  while pork and onions are simmering, rinse rice in a fine mesh strainer.  when pork is thoroughly cooked and onions are translucent add rice, chicken bouillon, grated garlic, fish sauce and ground white pepper to the pot and stir.  once all incorporated, add remaining 8 cups of water and bring to a simmer until mixture begins to thicken, stirring every few minutes, about 15 minutes total.  once mixture begins to thicken, stir continuously until mixture becomes a porridge texture, almost like a thick soup or a runnier oatmeal texture.  should take another 5 mins.  stir in chopped green onions, then serve immediately.  sprinkle cracked black pepper on top if you want (or not, depending on your hangover situation :P)

the mixture will continue to thicken in the pot once it cools.  when you reheat for leftovers, you just need to add some water before reheating, and you'll be back to that silky texture from the first day!

sorry this wasn't given to you YESTERDAY, like when you actually needed it, but i'm eating it until the whole batch is gone, even though i'm no longer suffering from the nasty hangover.  i AM suffering from lack of sleep though.  i tried staying up until the end of the sugar bowl, slightly napping on the sofa until 1:30am!! yikes!  good thing it's friday, my friends (at least i have good leftovers to eat for lunch :P)


Thursday, January 1, 2015

let's start.

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i'm sitting in my living room writing this, quiet with the only sound being the crackling of a wood wick candle, in my robe, feet propped up on our newly-reupholstered ottoman, my husband napping beside me, hot coffee at my fingertips, the sun shining in from all directions… and i wouldn't ask for anything more right now.

2014 brought us many good memories, shoving our engagement, the purchase of our first home, and our wedding all in the same year.  we took the first phan family trip to dc, we celebrated with so many friends who got married, and we made more new friends in jersey city than we can count.

of course we had our downs too, but if we focus on the downs then we will perpetually be unhappy.  instead of focusing on losing loved ones, we celebrate the good times we had with them.  instead of regretting the things we didn't do, we find ways to make up the things we didn't do and be thankful for the things we did.

our lives are just that… ours.  we have to take control of it and make the best of it, to always be working towards something better, to always set goals, to dream bigger.

as cliche as it sounds, the new year (and any other time of the year) is a great time to reflect on your past, and learn from mistakes, learn from triumph, learn from experiences, and to try to be a better person.

2015 is going to be a great year.  in the words of my husband "you just have to WILL it to happen."

cheers, and happy new year.

Monday, December 22, 2014


....and so the holidays have begun.  our new-to-us car has already seen some miles, and there are more to be clocked, but as long as there are smiles and laughter and good food and good company, we can claim a successful holiday season. 

in light of my absence on this space, and likely more to come, here's a recap of the holidays for us so far.  between thanksgiving, friendsgiving, a wedding, a friends chrismakuh, holiday parties, and birthdays, we've been busy.  but we can only be thankful to have each of you in our lives!!  so, thanks, friends and family, for being so awesome :)

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^^^this one is smiling on the outside (but thoroughly upset that that girl beside him was the ping pong champion of the night)

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^^^missing those two for christmas... but thankful that weird one in the back is driving to see us (and to deliver our newly-reupholstered danish modern chair!!)

read on for more.....

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

jersey city on july 4th

in case you forgot what the 4th of july was like this year, my procrastinater-blogger-self can remind you today ;)

it rained, and rained, and rained, and everyone got depressed that it was raining.

then.... it stopped... and then....  if you were in liberty state park in jersey city.... you witnessed what was probably the most epic fireworks show in the country : you saw two shows in one. 

do you guys know the macy's fireworks that are always nationally broadcasted live on tv?  the ones we have been lucky enough to see on the hudson river in person for the past few years?  everyone near us was bummed that the fireworks were back on the east river this year.  jersey city stepped up its game, and talked budweiser into sponsoring a big celebration in liberty state park, including a food festival, concerts, carnival rides, Clydesdales, and, of course, fireworks in new york harbor.

hung and i stayed in all day, being lazy and being bummed that we had to spend our long weekend inside.  we didn't get to ride bikes, we didn't get to picnic in the park, i'm positive we sat on the couch while hung played video games and i perused wedding websites.  when the rain stopped, we corralled our friends, and convinced them to walk to liberty state park with us to just barely snag a spot just before the fireworks started. 

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while it's no short hike over there from where we live, we got there in about 20 minutes, and were surprised to see how much open space there was for us to find a good spot to see the show! i think the rain scared people away.  we landed in a spot between the two barges with identical shows, the southern show shining with the statue of liberty in the background and the northern show with the manhattan skyline in the background.

if that wasn't cool enough, about halfway through the show, we were able to see the macy's fireworks on the east river more-than-peeking through the skyline buildings! it was one of the coolest things i've seen in a long time.  as much as i want to say "i'm over fireworks, i've seen them enough in my life" i still get mesmerized everytime i see a good show :P

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perusing through the food trucks on our way home, we snagged truffle fries, onigiri rice balls, and lobster rolls.  post-show we all walked back to our house for box wine, indian snacks, and mario kart on the wii-u.
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we couldn't have asked for a better 3-day weekend!


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

the proposal story...

we've been asked many times, and have told it many times, but now's the time to tell the story on this space!  here's our proposal story, as told my hung himself:


The proposal story:
So this was planned out for a while now, but I wasn't sure when it would happen until our home closed. Since it happened on a Wednesday (March 12th), I decided that the proposal had to happen soon. I had to the find the right time to do it, and what better time than on Saturday (March 15th) when we had tickets to the Opera from my bosses that I had already planned our monthly date night to. They gave us awesome seats, and though Jenn didn’t understand the first two acts, (she didn’t know there were subtitles to the show) she wasn’t really into it. I was a bit worried since we just sat through an hour and 15 mins of a show that she had no idea what was going on, I thought she was going to want to leave the rest of the show which would have ruined any timing I had for our day. Luckily I told her about the subtitles and she was ready for the final two acts (dodging bullets).

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instagramming our excitement for the opera, pre-proposal

Friday, February 14, 2014


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happy valentine's day! we're actually a non-celebrating house. we're hanging with friends tonight instead of being romantic (we're romantic everyday!)

however, in the spirit of valentine's day, i thought i would share a recent print i bought from artists and fleas in chelsea market when my mom was in town in december.  it is (appropriately) named "hug". is he not the cutest?  we're not shy about buying "monster" art.  this is actually our third print from leroy's place, and we have another block print from kudu-lah that has a cutie pie monster on it (see it here ).  this guy hasn't found a permanent home quite yet, but we still get to enjoy it while we work at the computer for now.  

i guess it represents our love for new york city? yes, yes it does.  if i could give the empire state building a big hug, i'd do it too.

leroy's place sells prints and jewelry at artists and fleas in williamsburg, brooklyn and the brooklyn night bazaar (also in williamsburg).  prints are 1 for $15, or 2 for $25.  BUT, the cool thing is if you want the original painting, you can purchase them when they come up on their facebook page ! (gosh i just found this out! now i NEED one!)


Monday, January 6, 2014

on being home.

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after spending 3 wonderful weeks of holidays, holiday parties, traveling to see family, having visitors, lots of eating, lots of drinking, lots of being "on the go".... we're finally home. and back to normal life.

even though that scene above is what we were greeted with when we got off the train from newark airport (after coming from sunny and warm florida), there was a comforting feeling of being home.  ...and i couldn't have cared less that it was cold, icy, and just plain gross outside.

the new year started last wednesday, but we've hardly had a chance to kick it off on the right foot until today.  mr p is going to try to eat healthier, i'm starting the whole living 28-day challenge (the one from 2012 is the best one i think!!), and we're both going to commit to working out on a regular basis.  the last 3 weeks have been ROUGH on us as far as going to kickboxing or the gym, but we're anxious to get back into it. 

i know, i know... it's "so cliché" to say you're going to "start the new year by getting healthy", but hey.. any excuse to want to change your life for the better is a good excuse, right? right.  i'll never knock on anyone for making new years resolutions to get healthier or shed those extra pounds... at least they are trying, right?

now that we're going to be at home for a while (at least a few weeks anyways), we filled the fridge with healthy veggies and fruit, lean meat for mr p, and healthy nuts. plus, almost the entire stash of holiday goodies have made their way inside our bellies, so there's not too much temptation of sweets and chocolate, there's only motivation for eating healthy because i know that it WAS there ONE day, and it's certainly not burned off of my body yet considering how much i ate and how little i worked out, haha.

happy new year everyone! here's for a healthy start to 2014!


Tuesday, December 31, 2013


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2013 was... eventful, to say the least.

our lives were filled with so many emotions that life truly was a rollercoaster. 

we celebrated the marriages of many great friends.
we hardly ever said no to social events and celebrations.
we learned that being apart 5 of 7 days a week was horrible and tested our relationship and happiness.
we learned that we might just be the best road trip team ever.
we learned that success is never met if you never set a goal.
we experienced the pain of losing loved ones unexpectedly.
we experienced the pain of seeing loved ones suffer through a painful death.
we learned that we need to make more time for each other instead of always saying "yes" to others.
we felt the joys and excitement of planting our roots in jersey city...
....and we feel the frustration of things not going as planned.
we feel that we have a strong hold on the reins of our lives, yet at the same time we feel like we're walking a tight rope.

i am thankful for the people who have walked into our lives in 2013, and for the exciting, enlightening, inspiring experiences we will treasure.

but man... i hope 2014 is a better year.
in the words of mr p "if you just think positively, you can will it to happen."

cheers to a better, more successful, more happy, more fun, more enlightening and inspiring new year!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

a jersey city christmas, and our december date

mr p and i stayed in jersey city this christmas.  after several FaceTime sessions with each of our families yesterday, we certainly felt like we missed out on family christmas cheer. but it's not too often that we truly get a day to ourselves to do nothing and relax, so we did just that.  we never got out of our pj's, ate delicious food, watched some christmas classics, and enjoyed our time with each other.

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(why yes, that IS a fireplace on our television…)

we also decided to do our december date night at newport skates and orale mexican kitchen on christmas eve.  it was certainly chilly, but it was fun to walk around our neighborhood on the rather quiet night, seeing all the christmas decorations…  so we made a little video to remember our first (and maybe last…) christmas spent in jersey city…

Christmas 2013 from jenn @ beyond the stoop on Vimeo.
(background music is, of course, by my favorite christmas manly voice, nat king cole, singing " the christmas song ")

thank you all for reading, for your kind words, and your support for this creative outlet of ours.

be sure to follow us on facebook , twitter , and pinterest too...

happy holidays, friends :)


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

it's christmas time in the city

this past year has been a whirlwind between working in boston half of the year, weddings in faraway places , and driving to ohio more times than i can count on 2 hands.  unfortunately, it just was not in the cards this year to see any of my family over the holidays.  we struggled to find a way to see both of our families over christmas because we didn't see either of them over thanksgiving, and because christmas falls on a pretty terrible day of the week this year. 

we're still not going to see any family on christmas day, but luckily my mom found some extra vacation days to come see us the weekend before christmas!  now we can actually have a holiday with a little less stress, and enjoy our long stay in cleveland the weekend after christmas. 

this is the second time my mom gets to visit this year! and i loved every second of the visit (well, except for that day there were 5 water main breaks in jersey city and we had no water OR heat)  i mean, we mostly like to site-see, eat, and shop anyways, and besides the crowds on the weekend, christmas time is a pretty magical time for new york city.  holiday markets are everywhere, and the local stores have the cutest festive things this time of year.

our 5 days together consisted of....

- trying a new-to-us italian restaurant called da mikele in tribeca
- going to the 102nd floor observation deck of the empire state building
- getting street nuts (they taste even better than they smell, why did I hold out for so long on these things!?)
- exploring the nyc public library on 5th ave (holy details, this place is beautiful)
- going to saks and getting our make up done by a bobbi brown artist (and spent a lot of money getting new fancy make up)
- finally going to FAO Schwarz and seeing "the big piano"
- perusing the grand central holiday market
- eating mr p's delicious cooking (be sure to look out for the simplest, most delicious pasta recipe on here soon)
- going to MoMA
- seeing "the tree" at rockefeller center
- getting (my favorite) lamb and rice from a street vendor
- perusing chelsea market for another holiday market
- eating at marco and pepe in jersey city (their new upstairs is AMAZING btw...)
- chowing on 4 pints of milk sugar love ice cream (uh, oops)
- getting our nails done at new zion nail in jersey city (her first time EVER getting a manicure!)
- shopping at some of jersey city's best local stores: etittlemouse , kanibal home , and smith and chang
- exploring the indian area of jersey city and trying indian food for the first time ever at dosa hut

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it was an action-packed 5 days, but who wants to just sit around the house when someone's here to visit and there are infinite things to see and places to go?!

i'm so glad we got to spend an extended weekend in jersey city with must my mom and i (and mr p for some of the time) because it doesn't happen very often anymore with us living so far apart.

cheers for the holidays!