April On & Off Instagram

I started April strong. My dad’s birthday was on the 1st and on the 1st, I took him and my mom to Miami for the weekend. We stayed with my long time friend, Nazanin and before heading to the airport to fly back I had a mini portrait session with her. I loved her photos and am in awe of how relaxed she is in front of a camera.

After taking her photos, I declared to my friends and the internet that I am seeking more opportunities to take portraits. My friend Julie obliged and let me do the honors of shooting her engagement photos. Not depicted on Instagram was shooting professional head shots outside my day job and at my alma mater.

The nonprofit I work with as a board member hosted ad open to the public Curry Cook Off. We were worried about ticket sales but ended up almost selling out and the bar was brimmed with happy people eating delicious curries. I plan happy hours once or twice a month for the same group and April’s happy hour was as photogenic as it was delicious. Also in event happenings, my writer friend Amy had a birthday picnic at my new favorite picnic table spot in town.

As for my home life, Sugarface and I plopped down on a comically small patch of bluebonnets and it was a wonder the photo was in focus since I was shaking so hard with laughter. We took the dogs to a new to us field. Bob the dog found a creek behind the field so though the field looked promising, it’s now best to save for bath day. Finally, the soup you spy is Asian comfort food. Rice porridge also known as congee. I made a big pot of chicken congee for us when Sugarface was feeling under the weather. I love the photo of the soup so much since I’ve eaten it all my life but never thought it was photogenic! It just needed some good light, props, and someone to believe in it.

April On & Off Instagram

April On & Off Instagram

April On & Off Instagram

April On & Off Instagram

April On & Off Instagram

April On & Off Instagram

April On & Off Instagram

April On & Off Instagram

April On & Off Instagram

April On & Off Instagram

Follow along on instagram: @curiousnotions, @bobthedogatx, @doodlesaboutfeelings

Friday Feels

Friday Feels

Happy Friday everyone! I have a busy long weekend this weekend. Heading to Houston tonight to not only see one of my besties get married but also officiate his wedding! Before I head out, here’s my weekly roundup of links that made me feel feelings. Hope you enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!

March On & Off Instagram

I was tempted to skip March in my monthly recap but though I’m way tardy on this recap, it felt more wrong to skip! I find a lot of joy in tracing over happy memories. The act of writing these monthly recaps makes me happy.

March in Austin means much of the city is under siege for two weeks by SXSW. It means overwhelming crowds, functions, parties, dinners, and traffic. I usually do a few food related events and my friend Patrick Pho, one of the handful of friends I’ve met through Youtube comes very year. We had our yearly reunion with Ashley.

I adapted a recipe for pork and bok choy noodle soup and I can’t wait to make it again when the weather is cool. You can see the pin of the original recipe and my notes of my adaption here. We ate it three days in a week and I didn’t tire of it. Also pictured on instagram, was one of my dogs dressed for St. Patrick’s Day, a homemade meal of Vietnamese crepes that my mom made me during a weekend trip, and doing some filming with Youtube star Furious Pete.

Sugarface and I attended our second wedding of the year. This one was our first Indian wedding and we felt so honored to be part of our friend’s day. The groom used to be one of my coworkers at the job from which we were both laid off. More specifically, he sat one desk over. Through our years at our former job, he has felt like a younger brother to me. I’m happy that despite us no longer seeing each other regularly, we still remain close and close to our mutual professional mentor who was also in attendance. It was a heart-warming celebration to end the month of March.

Not depicted on Instagram, I got ordained as a minister. I even paid extra for the paper certificate which came with a parking pass that makes me giggle. I told Sugarface I’ll frame it next to his PhD! You can call me Reverend Linda now.

March On & Off Instagram

March On & Off Instagram

March On & Off Instagram

March On & Off Instagram

March On & Off Instagram

March On & Off Instagram

March On & Off Instagram

March On & Off Instagram

March On & Off Instagram

March On & Off Instagram

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Follow along on instagram: @curiousnotions, @bobthedogatx, @doodlesaboutfeelings

Friday Feels

Friday Feels

VIDEOS

This video of last voicemails gave me goosebumps.

This exhibit is in California now and I so want to experience it.

Weekend in Miami

Disclosure: I was comped rides to the airport from Blacklane and a boat tour from Get Your Guide.

Weekend in Miami

I can’t believe it’s been a full month since my weekend trip to Miami! I’ve mentioned in various parts of the internet how special this trip with my parents to Miami was.

One thing I appreciate about adventuring with my parents and especially my mom is that they are easily pleased. Because they spent much of their last few decades working from early mornings to late nights including weekends, it didn’t leave a lot of time to experience much else. I’ve enjoyed introducing them to new experiences however small or large. For instance, I was given complimentary luxury rides to and from the airport from Blacklane, and my mom was floored that a chauffer was taking her to the airport in a Town Car. She was wide-eyed and tickled that a man in a suit held the door open for her.

Weekend in Miami

This trip aligned with my dad’s 72nd birthday. My thoughtful friend and our hostess Nazanin bought a birthday cake for my dad. She is like a sister to me and by the time the weekend came to a close, she had further and forever endeared herself to my parents. This photo is one of my favorites from the weekend!

Now what’s a travel recap without a list of our sights and activities?


Island Queen Cruises


Weekend in Miami
I booked a 90 minute boat tour with Island Queen Cruises through Get Your Guide and it was the perfect activity for my parents. My dad’s stamina isn’t what it was, so being able to sit and relax on a boat and admire the sunset was a treat for us all. The tour guide gave us juicy details of sprawling celebrity mansions. There were some jaw-dropping homes! One such home had an outdoor AC system! Finally, I loved how the downtown skyline twinkled and reflected in the water after dusk.


Books & Books

Weekend in Miami

265 Aragon Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134
http://www.booksandbooks.com

It is customary for me to visit bookstores when I travel. I collect these visits to bookstores as my mental souvenirs. My dad and I are both avid readers so I also had him in mind. I’ve seen Books & Books in Coral Gables listed on a few travel sites. It was the first time I browsed a book store with both my parents and I relished it. I liked how we separated and merely smiled at each other if our perusing crossed paths. Even my mom who doesn’t enjoy reading found herself lost in the cookbooks. I bought A Tale for the Time Being.


Vizcaya Museum and Gardens


Weekend in Miami
3251 South Miami Avenue, Miami, Florida 33129
http://vizcaya.org

Nazanin and I stayed up late gossiping and thus overslept the morning we planned on taking my parents to Vizcaya Museum and Gardens before our lunch reservations. Oops! We ended up only having an hour and a half at Vizcaya. I paid extra for the house tour which I didn’t realize would take a full hour just to cover the first floor of the mansion! It ultimately worked out since it was so hot and humid outside in the gardens that by the time it was time to leave, everyone was done. I recommend setting aside more time. The house tour only covered the first floor but guests were free to explore the additional floors on their own. The gardens were breathtaking! It reminded me of the Biltmore in North Carolina.


Miami Beach

Weekend in Miami

You can’t visit Miami and not visit the beach! Especially if it’s the inspiration of your trip. It was cloudy. It was cloudy a couple of years ago when I last visited Nazanin too. I prefer cloudy days at the beach though. It feels romantic and moody. Nazanin and I laid out and gossiped some more while my parents walked the beach.

Food

Weekend in Miami

I can’t recap a trip and not mention the food! You can read about the restaurants we sampled in Miami on my food blog.

Question: Have you been to Miami? What were some of your favorite sights and activities?



If you want to follow along on my eating adventures and everyday happenings, come join me on instagram!

Friday Feels

Friday Feels

I have so much to catch you guys up on but haven’t had the time or head-space to write it down. Maybe this weekend? Until then, I missed curating my weekly list of things that made me feel things so here’s this week’s list!

Engagement Session: Julie and Johnny

Engagement Session: Julie and Johnny

This past weekend, I was given the honor of shooting not only my first engagement session, but to add even more pressure to the experience, photographing my good friend Julie. I adore her and Johnny so much and I wanted to do right by them. I recently delievered her photos to her and breathed a sigh of relief and happiness when she told me she loves them so much that she could cry. Here are some of my favorite shots!

Engagement Session: Julie and Johnny

Engagement Session: Julie and Johnny

Engagement Session: Julie and Johnny

Engagement Session: Julie and Johnny

Engagement Session: Julie and Johnny

Engagement Session: Julie and Johnny

Engagement Session: Julie and Johnny

Engagement Session: Julie and Johnny

Engagement Session: Julie and Johnny

Engagement Session: Julie and Johnny


Question: Tell me about the last scary challenge you took on.

5 Ways I Save Money

This post is sponsored by Groupon Coupons. All opinions are my own.

5 Ways to Save Money

My budget suffered a severe tightening after I was laid off last year. I’m now partially employed and am entrenched in the gig economy, which means I’m never sure what I’m bringing in each month. Though I was never an extravagant spender, I had to bring in the reins on my spending. Here are 5 ways I’ve tweaked my financial habits.

1. I ask myself if I can get it at home or get it free some how. For example, sometimes I want to make a latte run. I know that coffee is only about five dollars per cup, but I have the supplies I need to make delicious Vietnamese coffee at home and we have free Starbucks at my part-time day job. Less cups of coffee bought while out, more money in the bank!

2. I check for coupons on sites like Groupon Coupons. Often sites like these have partnerships with major companies like Turbo Tax. (Did you guys file your taxes on time?)

3. I check if my credit card has a partnership with any of the companies I’m purchasing from. I use the Chase Sapphire card which earns me travel points. When I need to make a purchase, I scan their partnerships to see if I can earn a higher point ratio with any of their preferred vendors. It’s an easy way to rack up points for products and services I’m going to buy anyway.

4. I find new ways to socalize. I’ve been doing more errand dates and walking dates. My friend Stephanie and I once bought coupons for oil changes, met at the mechanic’s and then caught up over adult coloring books while we waited. I also entertain in our apartment more instead of eating out.

5. I maintain current good practices, which includes, not using the emergency fund unless there’s a real emergency, paying off all credit card balances every month, borrowing from the library when possible, and cooking most of my meals.


Question: What are some financial habits you swear by?

Friday Feels

Friday Feels

Another week has come and gone. What were your highlights? Mine was cooking my first meal in about a week. Chopping and stirring is my meditation. Enjoy this week’s list of links that made me feel things.

  • This episode of Dear Sugar about messy relationships made me feel things. I wanted to hug everyone who wrote in and make them tea.
  • I loved this story about Jordan Reid getting a breast life and augmentation after having two babies.
  • I finished Not That Kind of Girl and enjoyed it!

  • Starting A Tale for the Time Being next. Bought it while visiting a local Miami bookstore.
  • The internet is not real life.
  • When I was in Miami last weekend, my parents and friend and I wandered into Peter Lik’s photography gallery. We all fell in love with his work.
  • What it’s like to win the travel photo contest at National Geographic.

  • While we’re still talking photography, I find this series enchanting.

  • While this photo series made me smile and giggle. I probably wouldn’t make it past the first glass.
  • Our latest episode of I Feel Better Podcast is about another podcast called Call Your Girlfriend. We also chat about our biggest passions.
  • And a favor request from me, if you’re on Facebook, I’d love if you could like my page!
  • Questions: What was the last good book you read? Whatcha doing this weekend?

    Portrait Session with Nazanin

    Portraits of Nazanin

    This is one of my best friends, Nazanin. She moved to Miami almost three years ago and I’ve only visited her once before. She hosted not only me in her home this past weekend but also my parents. After just a brief weekend, they are ready to adopt her because she is so sweet and entertaining. Our weekend ended too soon and about 45 minutes before having to head to the airport, we realized we never made time to have the portrait session we’ve loosely planned. Luckily she lives in such a beautiful neighborhood that we were able to just pop outside!

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    I am striving to take more portraits. If you’re in the Austin or Houston area and are interested in having your photo taken by me, shoot me an email. I’d love to hear from you!


    Tell me about your favorite photo of you.