Author: tina slayer

Lunar New Year – Year of the Rat

A few days late (mom life) but happy lunar new year!  Or in other Vietnamese words, chuc mung nam moi.  Wishing you all a happy and prosperous new year!  Here is my daughter in her Vietnamese traditional dress (ao dai) – the white silk pants were missing in some shots, since they were too long on her.  But she was happy either way because there were some cha-ching in those red envelopes (li xi). She clearly has a great grasp on money.  Poor dada and his future wallet. It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged, so keeping this post short and sweet.  For more baby cuteness overload, visit: instagram.com/princessreileen

Things to Do on Oahu

Oahu is one out of the eight islands that make up the state of Hawaii. Oahu aka “The Gathering Place” has the largest population of the eight islands and is home to their state capital, Honolulu. Here are my recommendations on places to visit on Oahu. For a foodie blog on the best places to eat on Oahu – check out my previous post here. Dole Plantation [64-1550 Kamehameha Hwy] Have you ever noticed the “Dole” stickers on the fruits you eat?!  The stickers indicate that they came from the Dole Plantation, right here on Oahu.  I highly recommend giving this place a visit because it’s so fun and it caters to all age groups.  Hop on the Pineapple Express Train to get a tour of the plantation and absorb all the history facts during this tour.  Check out the class on how to cut a pineapple. And most importantly, taste the fresh pineapple and pineapple whip. You will not regret! North Shore Marketplace [66-250 Kamehameha Hwy D203] North Shore is the opposite side of …

Places to Eat on Oahu

Aloha foodies!  Hawaii definitely made it to one of my top places to get my grub on.  I definitely gained some LBS on this trip but it was so worth it.  Here are my recommended list of places to eat when visiting Oahu.  Stay tuned for another post on a list of activities to do on Oahu (and Maui, if you plan on going there too). Koa Cafe (2700 S. King St.) Porky Pork – This is definitely a must order item off their menu.  It comes with a generous amount of tender pork that is so flavorful.  The medley potatoes come from different regions.  I always use ketchup on my potatoes, but I didn’t need to for this dish!  Just enough salt and crunch on the potatoes mixed with the delicious pork and the soft but set egg from the Benedict. Guava Lava Mochi Waffle – I do not have a sweet tooth but I enjoyed this breakfast dessert.  This waffle isn’t your typical waffle, it has a different grainy texture from the infused …

Independence Day in Washington DC

It’s been over 20 years since I’ve spent the day in the District for the Fourth of July!  One – time flies because two decades is quite some time.  Two – I definitely take the city and all its events for granted, especially since I live so close to it.  Three – I finally had the opportunity to not only celebrate Independence Day in the heart of America but to also be a part of the annual parade! The Vietnamese-American Celebrate Freedom (VACF) is a group consisting of the Vietnamese community in the local areas of DC, MD, and VA.  VACF has been a part of this parade for the past 20 years!  I was beyond ecstatic to stand alongside with so many great Vietnamese-American leaders, including military and veteran personnel to represent the Vietnamese community.  Huge thanks to VACF and Miss Vietnam DC for allowing me to be a part of this. Most Vietnamese-Americans here in the states were once refugees escaping communism from Vietnam.  My parents and I were also Vietnamese refugees.  Although …

How To Make Cold Brew Coffee (like Starbucks)

Have you waited in line at Starbucks… just to get to the register and the barista tells you, “we’re out of cold brew for the day”?!  I was at the Starbucks in Target when that happened and ended up walking down the kitchen appliance aisle and purchased the coffee appliances.  So now, I make as much cold brew I want and can have it any time I crave it.  It tastes just like Starbucks cold brew and it’s so easy to make!  Lastly, you save a lot of money doing a one-time purchase on these two appliances than spending $5+ per cold brew at Starbucks. What you need: Coffee bean grinder $12 French press $20 Coffee beans – your choice of coffee beans, not coffee ground. Filtered water Creamer/milk (optional) – original creamer or any flavor you like. Method: Grind 8-10 tablespoons of coffee beans using your coffee grinder.  Ensure that your settings are on coarse setting, not fine!  If your coffee beans are too fine, it will seep through the french press.  It’s okay …

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors

Yayoi Kusama is a phenomenal artist from Japan.  Her most recent work, “Infinity Mirrors” was showcased in Washington, D.C. as the first North American exhibit tour.  Once (or if) you’re able to obtain tickets to this exhibit before it’s sold out, it’s so worth it!  Despite waiting in lines all day at the museum, I’m glad I was able to experience her artwork! Her collection of psychedelic art makes you feel as if you’re in the middle of space seeing things go on and on.  Prior to my visit – I thought these exhibit rooms were gigantic due to the infinite illusion from pictures.  However, I was so surprised that it was just a little enclosed room!  So cool. Be sure to read up on the artist, herself: Yayoi Kusama.  She has an interesting life story and how art has helped her cope during her life struggles.  I highly recommend this wonderful exhibit and good luck obtaining timed passes before they sell out due to popular demand.  Unfortunately, this exhibit is no longer at the …

DIY Bridesmaid Proposal Box

Chose your bridesmaids?  Now it’s time to propose to them.  Back in the day, a simple phone call or text message was the norm to ask your girlfriends to be your bridesmaids.  Well more and more are taking it a step further to channel their inner creativity when proposing to their bridesmaids – making it a more enjoyable experience. Proposing to my bridesmaids was one of the most exciting pre-wedding experience.  The looks on their faces and the “ooh’s and ahh’s” made me super thrilled that they loved their bridesmaid boxes. You can definitely create your boxes that matches your personality or interests!  I added personal notes on card stock with information on their duties and the wedding day. Sources: Shoe box/Photo box | A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts Paper crinkle | A.C. Moore Mini Prosecco | Total Wine Bridal party sunglasses | Amazon Essie Nail Polish | Skyline Nail Supply Beads/Pearls | Michaels Sheer glitter fabric for veil | Michaels Gold glitter spray paint | Michaels Bridesmaid bangle | Kate Spade New York Card stock | …

Burnside Farms

Can’t make it to the tulip fields in Holland?  Well, there’s a tulip field in Haymarket, Virginia!  Now, it’s not as grand as Amsterdam’s tulip and flower festivals but you’ll definitely get plenty of photo opportunities at this beautiful flower field. It’s $8 online for ticket entrance and that allows you to roam the fields, moon bounce for the kids, and snacks like nuts, apple butter, and plenty more you can purchase at your visit.  You also have the option to pick your own tulips and daffodils, at $1 per tulip and $0.50 per daffodil. The fields changes as the season changes offering a different experience each visit.  Tulips in the spring, sunflowers in the summer, pumpkin patch in the fall, and fir/pine trees in the winter. Check out a short snippet of my experience at the tulip fields in the beginning of my “Being a Tourist in DC” vlog: Disclaimer: this article is not sponsored and is simply provided to you all from my honest opinion.

Simple Spaghetti Squash Recipe

A healthy alternative to pasta noodles! In addition – easy, inexpensive, and takes less than an hour to make. I went to the local market and spent only $14 and it’s great for two people plus leftovers. Sounds like a win-win situation. Ingredients Squash Fresh parsley Garlic Meat sauce Ground beef Olive oil Salt Pepper Dried oregano Like my previous recipe posts – eyeball it to your liking (no measuring cups). BAM!!! *think Emeril* Steps Pre-heat oven 375F Cut the squash in half lengthwise Discard the seeds Drizzle olive oil, salt, and pepper Flip them face down and in the oven it goes for 40 minutes Cook the ground beef with garlic Drain the excess oil from the cooked beef Add salt, pepper, oregano, minced parsley, and meat sauce (I used the pre-made Ragu can to make it faster) Once the squash is done – flip it back over and let it cool for a few minutes Using two forks, pull the squash. It should simply fall off. You can definitely tweak this recipe to your …