Ho Chi Minh- day two

28 Jul

With our wretched first day in Ho Chi Minh behind us and a good nights sleep under our belts, we awoke in much better moods and excited to explore the city. First up on our itinerary was a stop at the Ho Chi Minh Museum. It was relatively close to our hotel so we decided to walk. The minute we stepped out of the hotel doors the thick hot and humid air enveloped us. It felt even hotter than the day before. How was that even possible? While I am not a huge fan of humidity, I quickly learned that my husband reallllllly doesn’t enjoy it. I won’t go as far as calling him a baby but I will say that there was some serious complaining going on.

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can you see the pain in his eyes?

After a twenty-minute walk, we arrived at the museum looking as if we had just showered. This weather was definitely going to take some getting used to! The museum was interesting (despite not being air-conditioned)- we both learned so much about Ho Chi Minh’s life before he became the president of Vietnam- I never knew he lived in France for a period of time working in kitchens or that he traveled many other countries in Europe working on a boat from 1911 to 1917. I’d say the museum is a must stop when in Ho Chi Minh…I mean the city is named after him and all.

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After the museum we headed over to Pham Ngu Lao, which is the backpacker district. It is made up of two parallel streets- Bui Vien and Pham Ngu Lao and a handful of tiny connecting alleys. I am a fan of exploring the backpacker district whenever I’m in a new city- they always feel more alive than the ritzy tourist areas. We wandered through the maze-like alleys taking in the sights (I could easily see into the locals homes from the narrow alleys, which was very exciting for a nosy person like me!) and smells (considering, nobody has air-conditioning and it was lunch time, the fragrant smell of food wafted out of the open doors…making me very hungry).

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With intense hunger pains now occupying both of our brains we decided it was time to break for lunch and picked a restaurant named Tiny’s at random. Well, maybe it wasn’t so random- it was the cleanest. We grabbed a table in the corner, luckily by a fan and quickly ordered two large Bintang beers to combat the heat. While I am not much of a beer drinker in my everyday life, it is pretty much all I ever order when I’m in Asia. Mostly because, my normal glass of chardonnay costs more than a meal for six and well, it just seems more authentic. You can safely say I wouldn’t be ordering a Bintang beer if I was in the south of France.

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After a decent lunch (nothing fancy at Tiny’s) of chicken hotpots (chicken, veggies & rice) we decided it was time for us to take break from the heat and headed back to the hotel. This became our daily routine – explore the city until around 3pm and then scurry back to the hotel for a few hours to read, write, shower (I showered three times a day in Ho Chi Minh) and nap in the cool air before heading back out for the evening. After our break we went to a Moroccan themed rooftop bar named Casbah that overlooked Notre Dame Cathedral for sunset cocktails (more bingtangs please!) and then had a truly amazing dinner at Thai restaurant named Golden Elephant.

Day three up next!

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10 / 52

27 Jul

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I was sitting at my desk the other day when I got a funny feeling that I was being watched. I turned and looked down to see this. Such a little creeper. He proceeded to stay like that for a few minutes too. He’s so weird.

Side note – I have not been doing a very good job about keeping up with this weekly series. Sometimes I feel like people are sick of all my Frank photos. My brother even shamed me recently by telling me that I look like a crazy person on Facebook due to the amount of photos I post of Frank. What can I say? I’m a proud mom and it’s hard not to considering he’s so damn photogenic.

Anyway…I’m back…or should I say…we’re back.

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24 hour trip

21 Jul

Our mini vacation to Coronado this weekend with Rachel and PJ was a total success…well minus the 4 1/2 car ride down to San Diego (in bumper to bumper traffic no less) that should have taken 2 1/2 hours. I’m not going to lie…that part kinda sucked with three crazy dogs in the car. But we all survived with our sense of humors in tact.

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the start of the trip

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nala spent most of the road trip cozy in her bed being cute…

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Frank spent most of the road trip digging his tiny claws into Brian’s legs while watching the world go by…

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Cherokee spent most of the road trip letting us all know his displeasure with being seated in the back …

 Once we finally arrived at PJ’s parents lovely home in Coronado, we recharged with a yummy lunch and  white wine before hitting the dog beach. The afternoon at the beach was something Brian and I were pretty excited about considering it was Frank’s first time making contact with the sand and the ocean. I know…I know…such annoying first time parents. All in all the beach was a total success. At first Frank was frightened of the ocean. Each time the water came up to him he would run as fast as his little tush would carry him in the other direction. After watching this hysterical back and forth for a few minutes he finally warmed up to the water when he saw a tennis ball go in. Frank’s love of tennis ball knows no boundaries. When he saw it go in he jumped right in to retrieve it, stealing it away from an eager golden retriever. He’s such a ball thief. After wrestling it away from him and returning it to its rightful owner we found him his very own tennis ball and played a long game of fetch. It was so sweet to see him at the beach – pure joy. It dawned on me that if I am this excited to see Frank experience something new for the first time, I can’t imagine how magical it will be to see our children experience things for the first time. It must make the world come alive in a whole new way.

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happy

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cute pup and husband

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just taking in the view of the ocean

After the beach we showered up and hit the town. Coronado is such a picturesque little all American town- it’s pretty darling. We walked through the famous Hotel Del Coronado, had drinks at The Tavern, a delicious Mexican feast at Miguel’s followed by a rowdy card game back at the house (sadly, I lost). It was a pretty perfect Saturday night.

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The next morning we packed up and hit the road in fear that we would once again be stuck in horrible traffic. Fortunately, the ride home was much more mellow. The traffic was mild, Cherokee’s whining was at an all time low, Brian wised up and put Frank’s bed on his lap to keep his tiny claws from mutilating his leg, Frank discovered the joy of air conditioning and we listened to a really interesting Ted Talk.

do you think he could get any closer?

do you think he could get any closer?

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all the kids fast asleep…

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find me elsewhere: instagram @kate365, twitter, facebook

inspiration, gratitude & surprises

18 Jul

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As far as weeks go this one has been pretty good to me. I have been in a really positive head space and that makes all the difference. Although, I was deeply saddened when I heard the news about the Malaysian Airlines plane that was brought down in Ukraine yesterday. It’s a seriously crazy world that we live in. When are we going to realize how connected we all are? Clearly, we are all affected by the issues around the world. We can’t even go on vacation anymore without worrying about being shot out of the sky? Beyond troubling. Alright…on to happier things. We are going on a mini one-night vacay to Coronado tomorrow with Rachel and PJ. PJ’s parents live there and are out-of-town so it was decided last-minute that we should take advantage of their empty place. It so happens that the beach we will be spending the day at tomorrow is a dog friendly one (I didn’t even know these existed!) so we will be bringing Frank as well as their two pups Nala & Cherokee. I am a little worried about the road trip portion considering we will be stuffing four humans and three crazy pups into one car. We must be crazy, right? I might need to spike my coffee to make it through the experience.

I am pretty darn excited to see Frank at the beach though. It’s either going to be a match made in heaven or go terribly wrong. You can garuntee that I will be documenting it at nauseum.

what inspired me this week?

I have been on a netflix documentary kick recently. There are so many good ones!

the music of Sylvan Esso

I love her writing….she makes me laugh even when she’s writing about her children…who I don’t know

what am I grateful for this week?

after the news of the plane broke yesterday…I found myself very grateful for the my life.

my morning yoga practice

work

my new morning routine

what surprised me this week?

I made a bet that my best friend Taline would give birth to her little boy this week. I actually even picked the exact day…TODAY and NOTHING

 

Ho Chi Minh – day one

16 Jul

Day one in Ho Chi Minh was hellish. Hands down the worst day of our whole  trip. It was the perfect storm… Brian was terribly miserable because he was covered in a thousand mosquito bites (I swear that boy must be super sweet because those mosquitos LOVE him). I was terribly miserable with cramps and a rough bout of pms. We had a truly miserable flight from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh with a snotty and sneezing old man seated next to Brian and two very loud and annoying kids seated next to me. I honesty didn’t know two hours could feel so long. When we finally arrived in Ho Chi Minh it was 100 degrees and humid as F*%k, which made us both even more miserable. In addition we happened to arrive in Ho Chi Minh on a national holiday (May Day) and everything was pretty much closed (great planning on our part). Do you see where I am going with all of this? It was just one of those days.

We took a cab from the airport to our hotel, The Hotel Continental, which is a beautiful historic hotel located in the heart of district one (upside of the day). After settling into our room, we attempted to shake off our nasty moods by planning a fun afternoon. First up, we headed to Cholon, Vietnam’s “Chinatown”, home to over half a million people, making it the largest Chinese community in Vietnam. The area was something I was dying to see during our stay because I was keen on going to all the Chinese medicine shops.  Sadly, most of the shops were closed due to the holiday. So instead we aimlessly walked the  sticky, hot and humid streets of Cholon in silence (total grumps). Finally we stumbled upon one Chinese medicine store that was open- WINNING! I excitedly walked up to the two women behind the counter, equipped with my fancy English to Chinese translation app on my iphone and eagerly asked them for the magical herb I was on the hunt for. They both stared at me with a look of disgust and then rudely waved me off. I’ve never been so offended! Clearly, they were not fans. I left the store defeated.

We spent the next twenty minutes continuing to wander the sticky, hot and humid streets of Cholon, while I recounted the Chinese medicine shop experience over and over to Brian (clearly, unable to let it go). Then suddenly (as if things weren’t bad enough) the sky turned dark and it began to rain. This day was officially a wash. At that point we decided to call it quits and hailed a cab back to our hotel (which took forever due to the national holiday), where we holed up in our air-conditioned room reading our books for a few hours. It was exactly what the doctor ordered. I’ve learned that sometimes it’s ok to hole up in your hotel room while traveling. It’s impossible to be on the go non-stop for thirty days.

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After recharging our batteries we went to a fabulous dinner at a romantic little restaurant Brian found, May restaurant which served French/Vietnamese cuisine that was delectable. After stuffing our bellies we went straight back to our hotel room and climbed back in bed.

END SCENE.

 

well, hello 32!

14 Jul

I turned 32 last week- I am officially a woman in my 30′s! The celebration was pretty mellow this year…I went to a sweaty morning yoga class, spent the afternoon at the beach with my momma, got a mani/pedi and then Brian and I went out for sushi. It was a day filled with all my favorite things. As I am sure it goes with many people, my birthday always causes me reflect on the past year. The last year has been a wild ride. The highs include marrying Brian (I still pinch myself!), building a home, getting off the antidepressants I was taking for my anxiety (more on that in a later post), taking a month off to travel through Vietnam and Bali on our honeymoon, as well as a few epic weekend trips to Sedona and our mini moon in San Francisco and Tomales Bay, Frank (in general) and lastly watching so many of my dear friends get married, get pregnant and have babies.

The lows have included work stress (which invariably caused money stress), disappointing friendships, the separation of a couple that shocked me and the whole gallbladder saga. I feel like that silly surgery stole a few weeks from me, not to mention my digestion has been screwy ever since.

All in all 31 was pretty damn good to me. I have so much to be grateful for. When I look at my life I can’t believe how many things have fallen into place exactly the way I wanted. Is everything perfect? No. But is it ever? The last year has taught me that I am always going to be ok. No matter what. I am much more resilient then I give myself credit for.

I am still working on my goal list for this next year but until then here are a few of my favorite moments from 31.

look at that little puppy face. I die

look at that little puppy face. I die

bachelorette weekend in Sedona

bachelorette weekend in Sedona

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dancing with my maid of honor after much too much wine

dancing with my maid of honor after much too much wine

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with my momma at my wedding shower

with my step mama at my second wedding shower

with my step mama at my second wedding shower

walking down the aisle with my pops. I'll never forget that moment.

walking down the aisle with my pops. I’ll never forget that moment.

first kiss

first kiss

the pure joy I felt at that moment

the pure joy I felt at that moment

a lot of my favorite girls in one silly photo

a lot of my favorite girls in one silly photo

I will never forget this moment. It's hard to pee in a huge gown!

I will never forget this moment. It’s hard to pee in a huge gown!

eating oysters in Tomales Bay on our mini moon

eating oysters in Tomales Bay on our mini moon

the time Brian herded a bunch of cows

the time Brian herded a bunch of cows

the moment it really hit me that I had a husband

the moment it really hit me that I had a husband

our first Christmas in our new home as a married couple

our first Christmas in our new home as a married couple

these two

these two

our first New Years as a family!

our first New Years as a family!

dinner club with baby Margot

dinner club with baby Margot

when my sweet husband crawled into the hospital bed with me to cuddle

when my sweet husband crawled into the hospital bed with me to cuddle

meeting my little sister Briana for the first time

meeting my little sister Briana for the first time

celebrating Frank's 1st bday!

celebrating Frank’s 1st bday!

leaving for Vietnam!

leaving for Vietnam!

morning sunrise in Halong Bay

morning sunrise in Halong Bay

ho chi minh

ho chi minh

temples in Bali

temples in Bali

feet in the sand in Bali

feet in the sand in Bali

celebrating Rachel and PJ saying "I do"

celebrating Rachel and PJ saying “I do”

my best friend is having a BABY

my best friend is having a BABY

me and my little boy

me and my little boy

Thanks for the joy 31! I can’t wait to see what 32 brings!!

project 30 – sophie

11 Jul

I’ve been wanting the sweet, soulful and talented Sophie Jaffe of The Philosophie to do the project 30′s Q&A forEVER. Problem was I had to wait for her to turn 30! Which luckily happened a few months ago. I seriously don’t understand how she was able to accomplish so much before turning 30- impressive! I met Sophie a few years back through mutual friends and I am so grateful to now call her a friend. She’s a big bright light and her positive energy is infectious! Enjoy her answers…

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Sophie, 30

What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

Get crazy and let go a bit more often. Have more sex. Create more experiences and trust yourself so that you can draw from them later: people rarely judge a person in their early 20′s for crazy behavior, so make it happen!

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?

Reading in my free time. Now that I have kiddos I just can’t muster up the brain power/ physically energy to read more than one page without passing out.

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

My life has always been pretty serious. I was forced to grow up and take a mommy role of my brother at a young age. I had a wonderful childhood and made the most of it, but there wasn’t a lot a couldn’t take seriously because I didn’t have much of a choice.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

Traveling all around the world/having adventures, Getting married + Giving birth to my two beautiful boys/the first most magic years with them.

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?

I was still really discovering what I wanted and needed in my early 20′s so it was hard to project what may be possible by 30′s. A lot of shifts and awakenings occurred in my early 20′s. My childhood best friend died suddenly and unexpectedly and my mom developed breast cancer; both of which rocked my world. I know for sure I thought I would be on a more traditional path, educationally, and probably would’ve gotten my masters or MFT or be employed in a hospital as health psychologist. Really happy that didn’t happen :)

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?

Married to the greatest man, 2 gorgeous kids + a prospering business I could’ve never dreamt up.

Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

Never.

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

Perspective.

When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

Quiet moments with myself (reading finally… maybe?), building family memories with my hubby, parents + children and lots of vacations traveling the world, soaking it all in with my beautiful friends and their families.

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

“Be Soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” -Kurt Vonnegut

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connect with Sophie

facebook, twitter and Instagram @philosophiemama

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