From a young age, I have been enamored with the French lifestyle. Although my parents are Vietnamese immigrants, they raised my siblings and me in the countryside of Louisiana, just an hour South of New Orleans.Our weekend trips to the big city weren’t glamorous but fateful in introducing me to French culture. New Orleans is America’s only European-like city, and there is a huge French influence on Vietnamese culture from the language to the bakeries. Though I haven’t been to every city, New Orleans is one of the few places in the United States that I can wander aimlessly and pick at a baguette while soaking in inspiration from the gorgeous surrounding French architecture. Here, I truly feel like I’m somewhere in a gritty version of Paris. Who would’ve thunk a Vietnamese girl from bayou country would grow up to be such a Francophile! And more, have that lifestyle inspire so much of what I do today.
Do you have any childhood memories that have contributed to who you are or cultivated your interests today?
Last December, I had the fun opportunity to experience the Garden & Gun Jubilee in beautiful Charleston, SC for the first time. The Jubilee is an annual three-day event that celebrates a lively, yet discerning mix of Southern makers and movers. It also brings together the Garden & Gun Made in the South award winners so they can showcase their work and mingle with new, adoring fans.
Most of the country is debating about who’s going to win the Oscars or the Superbowl. Unless the Saints are in the playoffs, everyone and their mamas are talking about which bakery makes the best king cake in New Orleans! In case you haven’t eaten one before, a king cake is like a hybrid between a cinnamon roll and a coffee cake. Some are stuffed with a variety of fillings, while others are kept simple. They’re decorated with frosting and sprinkled with the signature colors of Mardi Gras: yellow, purple, and green.
Sorry to mislead you with the title but as much as I’d love to, I don’t have the time or metabolism to try every single king cake to make a verdict on whose cake is the best. I’ll leave that up to the King Cake festival. I will tell you, though, that my personal favorite is from Sucre New Orleans. Their cakes are non-traditional in that they are made with a light, buttery danish pastry. They’re filled with cinnamon sugar and a light layer of cream cheese, then topped with a thin layer of frosting. It’s not too sweet, and once heated for a few seconds in the microwave, is perfectly tender. It’s always bad news when we bring a whole cake home because we end up eating it for breakfast or snack with coffee for dayssss. And though I can’t declare Sucre’s the best in all the land, they are hands down the prettiest. View Post
Ever since I visited the impeccably designed and Instafamous The Apartment by The Line, I’ve been smitten with incorporating a few monochromatic touches into our apartment while still maintaining its signature country cool. One of the easiest ways to update a space is by adjusting, or in my case, randomly scattering artwork around until it feels right. I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for a pair of abstract black and white sketches to add depth to our space. Very particular, I know. But after scrolling through everyone’s favorite card-making website, Minted, I was happy to find a vast selection of black and white art by independent artists!
Meet my two new friends: Embrace by Renee Stevens and Gestering Man by Derek Overfield framed in thin matte brass frames. I couldn’t love these two pieces more! After playing around with where to place them, I decided to hang them in the dining nook next to the large French windows. To my surprise, this made our ceilings feel higher!