Minnesota State Fair

Sorry, this comes a bit late. With a mixture of being sick and a memory stick corrupting things got pushed back.

For 12 days at the end of summer is what we like to call the Great Minnesota Get Together. The state fair is on the fair grounds on the University of Minnesota Saint Paul campus. This year we broke the record for attendance.

Small bucket of Fries CORN

I always have to save for going cause I eat a lot. A LOT. Each year there is always new food. I can’t keep up. But no matter what I always have a bucket of fries and corn on the cob. We also grab a bucket of cookies on the way out.

Sadly enough I eat cookies for every meal for a few days. And no amount of walking there will help that.


But there is a lot of walking. Just meandering around to food booths to shops to more food. Even a haunted house. If they had dogs in the animal barns then I would be in heaven.

haunted house

Quick update: Tired of being sick

Just wanted to give a quick update. I know I’ve been lax on posting, but I have been sick for a few weeks. Something I couldn’t seem to get rid of….or more stop others from coming. First I had a virus, then a bacterial upper respiratory infection.

So I’m taking the time to heal. Remove some of the stress in my life. I hope to be coming back better and energized.

Hope you all are having a better time. Stay warm (here in Minnesota its getting chilly).

Nobody Is Stupid

I love the idea in this book. While I write I also work and have worked in many of these jobs. People need to respect all jobs.

The Bookshelf of Emily J.

Have you ever looked down on a waitress, hair stylist, plumber, carpenter, electrician, or welder? The Mind at Work: Valuing the Intelligence of the American Worker (2004) by Mike Rose addresses the smarts it takes to work in any one of these vocations, and he makes a compelling case for recognizing and appreciating the varied skills and talents of any worker. This book may change your mind about holding onto snooty and hierarchical stereotypes and instead valuing the contributions that everybody makes to society, big or small, rich or poor. He examines “the tension between practical life, experience, and common sense versus schooling, book learning, and intellectual pursuits” (p. 164).


Rose focuses on each of the vocations I mentioned above. But most poignant to me was his chapter on being a waitress, for his mother worked as one. He’s an education scholar who has focused on literacy, and he benefited…

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Bridal Shower

This month was busy again. The same weekend I had my Bridal Shower and the fiancé had his Bachelor Party. Sadly the few weeks before was not great. Every possible that that could go wrong, DID. I was suppose to have my Bachelorette Party that weekend too. But with too many changes to plans I decided to postpone.

But things started to settle down when we finally started driving to the party. We even left early…so early that we were able to stop at a Barnes and Noble real quick.

Food spread

That was partially because instead of gifts I wanted people’s favorite love story. Some were actual love stories like Outlander. Others were….different. My mom gave me a funny book about a daughter and her frazzled Mom. Another gave me the Karma Sutra. And my sister in law gave me one about the love of food.


Which all fit me perfectly.

We played lots of games. My favorite is always making a wedding dress out of toilet paper.

Toilet paper dresses

But most of all it was just fun to talk to a bunch of women who are generally happy for us and the wedding.to just relax and talk about anything and everything.

I didn’t realize how much I needed that. Most of my life right now is work and home. And home is taking care of the dog, chores, and trying to write. It doesn’t help that I am hours away any friends, family, or my usual entertainment.

I’m also the first in the family to have a Bridal Shower. It’s not really an Asian thing. Most of the extended family didn’t come. But I’m perfectly fine with that. They like any excuse to party and I didn’t want that.

What kind of fun are you guys having? Do you have people to work around?

Book and Movie Review: Austenland

I am a fan of Jane Austen as much as the next girl. Who wouldn’t love a man who is a gentleman and has manners. And the heroine is a smart, headstrong girl.

austenland book cover

I’ve heard of this book on and off for years, and finally got down my list to it. It kept getting pushed down whenever one of my favorite authors had a new release.

I was pleasantly surprised. There was a lot less fluff then I thought there would have been. The main character, Jane, is a little wishy washy. But in a good way. She knows she has an obsession which has been fueled by her bad string of boyfriends. She knows what the “practical” thing she should do, but her heart wants something else.

Some people didn’t like her as much (in other reviews) because she wasn’t “strong and decisive”. But I can relate to her. She is stuck in 3 worlds, not just 2. Not only the modern world where women can do anything and everything, and has it all figured out. Then the world that tells her that her biological clock is ticking. And that she shouldn’t have had so many boyfriends.

This third world is part fantasy, part history. A more simple time. Yes less choices, but too many choices can be overwhelming. Its bad enough parts of society expect you to be loose and free when you date in your younger years, but just turn around and settle down and take everything serious. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a serious relationship right off. She can’t change something that is fundamentally her.

Overall, a good read. Highly recommended. An easy read that skims on some deeper parts.

Austenland the movie

Since I liked the book so much I went online to find the movie. Now I didn’t have high expectations only because most books to movies don’t translate well.

So no, this was not a close adaptation. A lot was changed. There was no inheritance from the aunt, she bought the package herself. Her obsession was not hidden but glaringly obvious. And all the characters were changed in big or small ways. A lot of the background was lost like in most movies.

But…..somehow it worked. The movie was only an hour and a half so they had to cut somewhere. So the beginning was the logical answer. And people want more at the place anyways.


It did show how ridiculous all the people were. I liked how Jane and “Lizzie” were more friends. The changes worked for the time they had.

Also movies do add some where the book could not. I’ve never been good at picturing what clothes looked like in detail. Then the little moments of a look. I feel like movies can do better at add the impact of just one look.

Overall a good, enjoyable movie. Just don’t go looking to it as a close read to the book. I’d suggest only do that for the ones that get turn into TV shows.

Has anyone read this book or seen the movie? What did you think of it? Any thoughts on book to movie adaptations?



Engagement Party

At the end of July we had or “engagement party”. I put that in parentheses because we didn’t know half the people who showed up. My family loves an excuse to throw a party. We didn’t care, we got to see a bunch of friends and family, and lots of food.

They randomly wanted a pig

They randomly wanted a pig

Some of the other food we had

Some of the other food we had

The thing I’ve learned with my family is to go with the flow. There will always be too many opinions. Sometimes you need to mediate, or pretend to listen and do what you want, or just to tell them all to shut-up. :p This party more people had a say since my aunt and uncle hosted it. But no one gets a say for my wedding, not even my parents.

Me, Fiance, his parents, and a close friend

Me, Fiance, his parents, and a close friend

Me and my mom

Me and my mom

The day before I wrapped over 300 egg rolls and 50 cream cheese wontons. They all randomly decided to have a pig roast. Thinking that it would be easy because my fiance works with them. Not on a regular basis and no one owns any. So that was fun……

I the end everyone had fun. And that’s what matters. I’m just glad I took two days off after it to rest.

Egg Rolls

I always love when my dad’s side of the family has a party/gathering. Not only for seeing everyone, but for the food. I always feel like I gain a few pounds cause I can’t stop eating.

The main thing that EVERYONE always wants is egg rolls. Now these are the Lao version so not all the cabbage that Chinese ones have. This recipe makes about 100.

Love these so much

Love these so much


1-2 pounds ground pork (or turkey/chicken) springroll wrappers 4 large carrots (which you will need to shred very small) 1/2 head of cabbage (shredded) 3-5 cups of clear noodles (after they’ve been soaked) Taro root the size of a large orange (shredded) 4 eggs (+1 for wrapping) 1/2 tsp white pepper 4 tsp sugar 1/2 tsp MSG 2 1/2 tsp salt

What the inside looks like before being rolled

What the inside looks like before being rolled


Shred everything that needs to be then mix it all together. Separate the wraps. Put a small scoop on the bottom half of wrap. Pull up the bottom corner tight, then bring in the sides. Last finish rolling upward. Use the extra egg to hold down the end/last corner. We usually use canola oil at 325-350 degrees. Let fry until golden brown. They can be kept frozen for 3-5 months. Thaw before frying.

how much to put in then roll

how much to put in then roll

what they loo like rolled

what they loo like rolled


Being Sick and Baking Cookies

Summer colds suck. The upside is that I’ll be all better in time for my engagement party. It was one of the few times it knocked me down for days. But I made sure to take care of myself; staying home from work, drinking plenty of water, blowing my nose (instead of sniffling), and sleeping.

I get these strange craving for something sweet anytime I have a runny nose. So one of the times I was actually awake I baked some cookies.

Cookie Dough

The one thing that makes mine to soft and fluffy is drum-roll……….. Parchment paper.

Baked cookies

Here is the recipe that I use. It took me years of experimenting to figure out what I really loved.


  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • 2 3/4 cups (12 oz) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon smallish-medium coarse sea salt (or regular salt)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat to 350 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients, then add the wet. I don’t really have any particular order for things after that. Just mix until you get a good consistency. Roll the dough into pin pong size balls then place on the parchment paper on the cooking sheet. Since I’ve never had a oven that worked the same as the last one I set a timer for 7 minutes.

The first cookie I ate

Yes that makes you close and not really able to go off to do something else. But having perfect cookies is more important. Besides you can spend some time doing one thing, your world will not end! You may want to leave them in for a minute or two longer. Let them cool on the sheet for a minute before sliding the parchment paper (with cookies) off.


Help for Staying Healthy

I’m pretty sure everyone can agree that being healthy and losing weight can be hard. We all can use some help. Sometimes people need personal help with a trainer or nutritionist. Others just support on Instagram. The point is to find what works for you.

I know I need to take classes. (Sadly could never do crossfit) A little peer pressure to push myself, but less chance of being guilt-ed. I know the basics of form and food, just need a little motivation.

The two things I use regularly are the Nike+ Fuel band and Lose It! on my phone.

My tracker

My tracker

I love my fuel band because it it tracks steps, calories, and fuel points. And you can set a goal for each day that it can remind you to get up. The technology has gotten better from the first one I got. It works best for cardio like walking, running, and dancing. It doesn’t do as great with biking and swimming. But I like that because I’d rather have it undercount a little so I feel like I need to do more.


I like Lose It! most because it can sync to y Nike+ fuel band. I always had problems figuring out what exactly i did and how hard I worked. That’s one less thing to have to figure out.

Can be used on phone and computer

Can be used on phone and computer

I found this app easiest to work with. It gives better portions, what the calories of a whole meal at a restaurant is, and a scanner. The scanner is great because you can scan a product’s bar code and all the information pops up.

What are other strategies and products do you guys use? I love to hear other ideas.

Making Changes

I finally took the plunge and got my own domain name. Hope you like it. I am still trying to figure out what colors to use and the theme design. Let me know what you think. Any ideas?

I finally learned how to make my own header. I got the instructions from here. I got the picture from here. Recovered Autosaveby Jason Carpenter

I guess I want to explain a little about the name I chose. Strange story. My name was originally spelled a-n-o-n-g. Which in Laotian means gifted in the heart. But my mom, not being asian, refused to not be able to pronounce her own child’s name changed the o to a u. It wasn’t until I was about 13 that I finally Googled my name and found out it was an Ojibwe word meaning star.

The dream and create part is because I am a dreamer, but have never been great at creating those dreams. So it is reminder to myself to be constantly working towards the things I want. I also hope to help others to dream big and manifest those great things.