Truth or Dare

Yes, I am one of those peeps who went out and bought Madonna’s Truth or Dare Eau de Parfum.  She is legendary in my eyes (if I can even use that word yet), and even though I’m not really a fan of her current music style, I still listen to everything else.

The scent of Truth or Dare was okay, not something I would go out of my way to purchase, but because it was by Madonna, it was worth it.  There was a time when I wondered if she would ever come out with a perfume, so imagine my enthusiasm when I first saw the less-than-30-seconds commercial.  Later, I did go on Youtube to see the full-length.

Originally, I wanted the 2.5 oz (which cost $13 more than the 1.7 oz) because I wanted the free Truth or Dare tote that came with it, but the sales rep was sweet and gave me the tote with the 1.7 oz, so I was happy!

I’m not sure  what to use this tote for yet.  I’m thinking of using it to carry notebooks and sketchbooks.

A Little Artist

I bought a table easel (for half price at Jo-Ann’s) so Kylie can paint on the days she doesn’t have preschool.  When I brought the easel home and explained to her what it was, she got excited and wanted to paint right away.

She painted five abstract pieces.  I know they might look like messy paintings, but to me, they are how she sees the world around her.  Purple seems to stand out.  Three of the five had lots of purple in it.  My favorite was a pastel piece with a butterfly at the top of the paper and thick brushes of pinks, oranges, and greens below.

BTW, I was asking husband, “Which is better, A Little Artist, or The Little Artist?” and while he was thinking on it, Kylie yells out from the next room, “A!…A!”  Then comes running over, sticks her head into the room, and says, “I like ‘A’ better.”

Mom’s Birthday & Photo Restoration

We celebrated Mom’s birthday.

I made a card (above) for her and used an old photo from her childhood and one from around 2005/07 with her wearing a moderned Hmong outfit.  The inside was written with very simple words and then husband and I and the kids signed it.

Before everyone arrived, it was just Mom, Grandma, and me talking about life back in Laos and Thailand.  She began by talking about the Secret War and the single file path that was crucial for survival, through the landmine they had no choice but to go through, if they wanted to get out alive.  She has told me this story many times but each time, there’s a bit more detail.  When she told this story again, the focus was on a family from a close by village.  This family: a husband, wife, and a few kids, followed my parents and their relatives on the path, but for some reason, maybe they stepped outside the path, the bombs went off and took the husband’s arm and both his legs.  Blood splattered everywhere.  He was in a lot of pain and was no longer able to make the walk so was left behind to die.  That was what they had to do because the communist soldiers were closing in.  His wife was extremely torn.

They all came to a huge boulder and rested underneath where there was a small hiding place.  While they were eating their meal for the night, the wife would call out to her husband to come join them by repeating, “Husband, come down from the top of that boulder and join us for dinner.”  She was completely out of her mind.  The strange thing was, when she called out, little rocks from the top of the boulder would fall down as if someone had crawled to the edge and in doing so rocks atop would slide down.

Mom then reminded me that, that was the family, when the the bombs went off, the blood splattered all over my legs.  A young cousin was carrying me on her back and she and I were just a few feet in front of that family.

The conversation then turned to Mom’s memory of things I did when I was about 2 or 3 years old.  Somehow we ended up talking about spirits and Grandma, who’s brought up Shaman, began talking about supernatural stuff that happened to her.  All very interesting, but then everyone started showing up, and conversations about current things took over.

Photo Restoration

The photo I used to create Mom’s card was taken from this original photo:

The photo is of Mom with a few of her classmates/friends/relatives from the Catholic school she began attending at age 12.  It is one of my favorite photos of her.

She is beautiful.

Here it is restored.  I used Adobe Photoshop CS4 to clean it up.  I am not an expert in photo restoration but I try.

Here it is with Mom colored before creating the card with it.

It was an utmost indescribable pleasure to restore it.

One Perfect Sunrise

This video is pretty neat by someone on youtube named hajime1969.  The song is “One Perfect Sunrise” by Orbital.

I was looking through my photos for a sunrise photo and couldn’t find too many.  The last sunrise photos taken was last September when my family and I went to Maroon Bells.  Guess this means it’s time to get out there early and capture some early morning gorgeousness.

I created this layout as an example for a freebie on my other blog but I think we can all use a little reminder to live in the moment.

Scallions, Tomatoes, and Thai Pepper Sauce

I ended up making that pepper sauce mentioned, here.  Growing up we always had some type of pepper sauce to dip in with our food and as I got older it’s just become a norm.  The pepper sauce in the photo is made of all fresh ingredients.  I made quite a lot and it’s lasted me a whole week.  I even gave some to my sister when she came over and she loved it!

Here is the recipe:


2 Large tomatoes
2 Garlic cloves, chopped
10 – 20 Thai peppers
1 Cup chopped scallions
1/2 Cup water
Juice from one lime
Fish sauce


Boil the tomatoes and Thai peppers together for about 5 minutes.  Drain and let cool.
Peel the skin off the tomatoes and remove any hard parts.  Cut the tomatoes into small cubes. Remove the stems from the peppers and give it a rough chop.

Using a mortar and pestle, mash the peppers, garlic, and scallions together with a little
salt until well blended.  Scoop into a bowl.  Next, mash the tomatoes until you get the consistency you like.  Then, pour it into the bowl with the peppers, garlic, and scallions.  Stir to mix all the ingredients.  Add the water, lime juice, a little bit of fish sauce, and a
pinch or two of sugar.  Stir and you’re done.

You can use a blender in place of a mortar and pestle.  Instead of 1 cup scallions, you can reduce it to about 1/4 and add 1/4 chopped cilantro and 1/4 mint (-/+ as you like).  You can also make this sauce without tomatoes.

You can also download it in PDF format, here.

Glenwood Springs Alpine Coaster

[4.06: Waiting a few minutes before heading to the 2nd cave.]

This post is a continuation from the trip the family took to Glenwood Springs last week.  The cave was fun for husband and I but the girls found their thrill in the Alpine Coaster ride, Laser Tag, and the 4D Motion Theater.  They also loved the small shop that we spent a great deal of time in trying to stay away from the wind.  They each bought a bag of colorful rocks.

The wind was pretty extreme.  That’s me being very serious with husband to be very VERY careful taking Kylie down the Alpine Coaster. I was so scared she’d fly off or pass out.

Kylie and her dad coming back from the ride.  She actually enjoyed it way more than I thought.

Kida riding with her dad.

I went on the ride once with Kida and was scared half to death through the whole thing.  The turns were sharp and steep + the wind and the speed!  I controlled the speed of the coaster but I felt as though I had very little control as to how fast/slow we went.  When it was done, I was relieved.  It was…somewhat exciting but I think my fears got the best of me so I didn’t get to enjoy it as much.  Kida went on it about 4 times, 3 of them with husband and still wanted to go some more.  She begged to go by herself but I didn’t let her.  She stomped, screamed, tried to twist my words, etc., but I still didn’t let her.  I know.  I need to let go just a little more but I think with certain things, I just can’t, and I won’t.

[That road is Interstate 70 and the brownish piece of water is the Colorado River.]

At the end of the day, I was happy to know that both Kida and Kylie enjoyed this vacation.  Kida wants to live in Glenwood Springs when she grows up and Kylie wants to play Laser Tag all day long.

Easter Sunday Service With My Sister

[Easter Sunday Service: My sister and her boyfriend in the hats on the left.]

My sister and her boyfriend invited my husband and I and our kids to Easter service with them this morning.  When we got to the location (a decent size amphitheater) there were so many people that we ended up sitting on the grass way in the back.  I believe the pastor said this was the most people they’ve ever had in all the 25 years they’ve had Easter service at that amphitheater.

It wasn’t the type of service I’m familiar with but it was educational.  The pastor educated us a little about the Islam religion which I found interesting.  At first I found it odd that he would be talking about another religion during Easter service but then I realized that maybe he wanted us to understand this religion so that if we feared it before, it would ease our fears.  My sister mentioned that the topic of other religions was a series that covered a month or two and just so happened to end today (and with Islam).  I would have loved to have been there for the other religions.  I find religion fascinating sometimes.

During the service, my 5-year-old said to me, “It’s Easter because Jesus went to heaven.”  I didn’t teach her that so I was surprised, but I knew she learned that from her preschool.

At the end of the day, a part of me missed my usual Catholic Easter Mass, but I’m glad that I got to experience a wonderful Christian service with beautiful people and music that touched my soul.

The Cave Tour We Finally Took

[Glenwood Springs from up high : Taken by husband]

I’ve been to Glenwood Springs many times but have never gone to the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.  I’m not sure why it never crossed my mind to go there.  The family finally went there a couple of days ago and it was a lot of fun.  We wanted to take the tram up to the park but it was so windy that they closed the tram ride and instead we took the bus.  The bus ride was an adventure of its own!  The road was all dirt, bumpy, and dusty with the strong wind.  It was also narrow in some areas so looking down as the city got smaller was a bit nerve wrecking.

The bus that took us up to the Adventure Park. ^

The cave tour was exciting.  There were two caves that we went into with a group.  In the first one, a drip of water fell on my head and right after, the tour guide asked us if anyone got dripped on.  I raised my hand with, “I did!”  She told the group that it meant the fairies in the cave blessed me with luck.  I felt special. 🙂

The stalactites and stalagmites were amazing.  I’ve only seen them in books or on t.v. so seeing them in person was surreal.

Snow Day & Last Weekend Photos

This morning, the bushes were iced.  It’s always so strange how one day it’s nice and warm and the next day it’s like the middle of winter.

Last Weekend Photos

Mom washing scallions she picked from her garden for me.  I’m still not sure what to use them for.  Maybe I’ll mash them with some Thai peppers, tomatoes, and lime juice.

My brother modeling the mangosteen for me.  These things were expensive.  They tasted kind of slimy, sweet, and sour.  This was my first time trying a mangosteen.

Rambutan.  Loved them, but again, quite expensive here.  I’ve had these canned but much prefer them fresh.

Dragon fruit.

My dad holding these so I could take this shot.

It tasted like the kiwi fruit but a lot firmer and slightly crunchy…and maybe less sour.  This was the first time I’ve had this fruit too.

More peach blossoms with a twist.  I blended painted papers to create a textured painted look:

And last, Kylie posing for me.

Sun Flare On Peach Blossoms

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day with the temperature in the high 80’s.  I was over my parents’ house with the D90 and the 55-200mm lens to shoot some peach blossoms in their backyard.

They were gorgeous.

There were no blossoms last year so I was excited to see them this year especially because this means they will produce some juicy and sweet peaches in the fall!!