Armpit Detox

Things are about to get intimate. And possibly smelly. Well smelly if you are in my bubble…maybe. After becoming a mama, I find myself trying to look for natural ways to do things. I’ve switched all our household products over to the Honest brand after we got Bawse, in case he licks random stuff. I now use natural skin care products, and am being conscious of the ingredients in my makeup. Your skin is the largest organ, so you have to think twice about what you’re putting on it!

So prior to this crazy heat wave/dome whatever you want to call it, I was using natural deodorants, just because that was what I was doing when I was pregnant. But then after sweating and being funky through this heat/working out again I had to switch back to commercial strength deodorant to spare those around me. But then I noticed how dependent I got on it and how funky I smelled without it so I wanted to go back to natural deodorants. But when I did… it wasn’t working as well as when I was using the antiperspirants!

So I had to research. In order to get the best smelling you, you have to detox the built up aluminum in your pits if you want the all natural deodorants to work. Plus it’s just good in general to rid your body of potential cancer clogging toxins. I don’t have any science facts to annotate in the footer for you, this is just my general belief because I’m secretly a crunchy mom. But then I read this article and I’m like YEAH. I should stop.

However, I don’t have time to make a paste and all that jazz. I literally have to coordinate shower times and chores with my husband so that everything can get done before the end of the weeknight. So I tried my own version of the quick busy mama armpit detox.

Week One: Witch Hazel
So for the first week, while I was waiting for the armpit detox soap to come in, I would wipe down with witch hazel at night and in the morning. I figured I should start asap, and my friend looked up ways to help detox and she told me to try that. It’s also one of the main ingredients in the Honest Deodorant Spray that I was using, so I figured why not. I happen to already have some at home since it is a great multi-use product. I actually don’t smell myself yet. I’ve read that it’s because I probably have enough aluminum built up in my clogged pores that it’s keeping me from funking up the joint. I fear for the second week.

Week Two: Witch Hazel and Charcoal Coconut + Clay Bar Soap
As if my body was following this chart, Day one of week 2, I took off my blazer and smelled BO. DAMN IT. I thought perhaps I was a lucky unicorn. Nope. I’m human. And I smell like a raw onion by midday. The night before I washed with this charcoal, coconut and clay bar soap, and then used witch hazel like I have been. To spare my officemate, I used the Honest Deodorant spray I had at my desk. I no longer smelled myself.

Week Three: All of the above plus a natural deodorant
I’m not outwardly smelly. Meaning I don’t smell myself, and husband and friends SAY they don’t smell me. I asked them not to be nice. They said they weren’t. Not too shabby. The pit area on the insides of my blazers still reeks, though. Nothing a spray of alcohol and airing out couldn’t fix. All right!

Week Four: Just trying to live my life
I am now at the point where this is second nature to me. Washing with the charcoal soap, witch hazel twice a day. Natural deodorants. Sniffing myself. But I think I am at a point where I am okay with wearing natural deodorants and not caring what other people think. Sorry if you smell me. I want to say, detox complete. The stinkiest days are behind us!

Types of Deodorants I’ve used:
Crystal Rock: Can only use on clean pits, so at night after a shower, or after witch hazel and dry.

Schmidt’s Twist Up: Smells decent, apply like regular deodorant. I like it and I feel like I’m using “regular” deodorant, but then the twist up stopped working. And I don’t know if it’s because I have a bad one, or because the formula for the natural deodorant just doesn’t hold up in traditional stick form. Most of the ones I’ve seen come in a paste form or a spray form.

Honest Spray: Love. I like the bergamot sage one, and I keep the lavender vanilla one at my desk. Haven’t tried the 3rd scent yet. I like this because of the refreshed feeling I get after using it, but it definitely does not last all day and you will need a mid-day spritz.

What about you? Are you using natural deodorants? If so, which ones and what do you think?


**I purchased all these items to try on my own. No one paid me to write a (though brief) review. Using affiliate links from me won’t cost you any more than it normally would, but you would be contributing to keeping this site running! Or realistically, fund me buying more deodorants to try.

The Purge: Update

Here’s what I’ve been up to. I’ve got rid of a LOT of clothes, shoes, and bags. Then I packed up my nursing and baby stuff for future/potential baby #2 and gathered all of the baby’s small clothes to give away. What used to be the nursery/my second closet…

Is now a big kid/play room!


Kapnos Taverna

I love to try a little bit of everything, without putting myself in a buffet situation. Dim sum, tapas, hot pot, Korean bbq, forcing my dinner mates to order something so I can have a little bit of theirs…I clearly don’t like to be stuck with one entree. At Kapnos Taverna, they have mezze, which is the word that refers to Mediterranean small dishes. Perfect! I love small plates.

I stopped by for lunch one day with the hubs. There seems to be two levels, which creates an open air vibe full of plants (dead, fake, alive?) and very modern. Definitely liked the vibe there. The staff is very attentive, and our server was very knowledgeable, he even took the time to bring over someone to explain one of the dishes. Unexpected but appreciative. He knew it was our first time there and wanted us to really get a feel for the food.

They’ve got quite a selection of house made sodas. My husband went for it and chose the 5 Spice Ginger beer. I wanted to try to passionfruit one, but I’m not that big of a soda drinker and didn’t want to NOT finish it.

We chose the tzatziki and flatbread spread and the half spit-roasted chicken to share. Lunch is quite like and there was a generous portion for both.

The tzatziki was creamy, flavorful and was well, perfect. I’ve never had it like that before and I love it. Usually when I have it, its watery and yogurt-y and this was definitely a spread. It’s served with fresh hot flatbread. Like literally fresh. When we asked for another piece, it takes 4 minutes because they have to roll it out and throw it in the fire. Worth the wait.

The chicken is smoky, tender and full of flavor. It’s served over barley cooked with spinach in a risotto style (STYLE, not risotto). It was very lemony, and bright but paired with the chicken perfectly.

My husband thought it was too expensive, but I think it’s well worth the price. They also have “express” lunches which include a gyro a side and a drink for $15. I’m told it is a lot of food, but I prefer a bunch of small plates.

Marie Kondo and the Purge

The first time I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo I was so motivated to purge that I ended up getting rid of 6 bags of clothing and refolding the clothes in the drawers per her method. I was obsessed. Because I had a young baby at the time, I couldn’t do the full out purging that she recommended, so that people don’t relapse.

I relapsed.

I only purged the closets, so other things piled up again. And now that my husband is on board with “The Purge” I am super excited. And I am reading the book again, for the motivation to get cracking…despite her telling us to throw away the book after reading (I prefer to donate, but HAH Marie, see I did come back to reread the book!)

First, I made a list and divided my home into sections, then in those sections, I made a list of tasks. Then every day I try to do at least one task in the section. Crossing things off the list is a good feeling. I will save you guys the anxiety of showing you my list of things to do.

Wish me luck, if this all works out, I’d like to start hosting dinner parties or secret supper club events! But this will also make space for cookbook writing, testing, prepping and shooting.  Life is just easier when it’s not cluttered.



It’s obvious I love ramen. From hopping around to ramen shops to hosting “Ramen Day” at my house, I could ALWAYS eat ramen. And lucky me, there’s a ramen shop walking distance from my office. Yet, it has so much more to offer than your average bowl of ramen. (How many times have I typed the word ramen already?)

So let’s NOT talk about the ramen, (though the king crab ramen with uni butter? omg) let’s talk about all the other delicious bites you can find there. Not only do they serve traditional style ramen, they have small plates that are both Japanese and Korean flavors.


One of my favorites, so simple yet so delicious, the snap pea goma-e. I am always iffy about having snap peas at restaurants because you never know if they are going to prepare it properly. I hate when I have to sit there peeling the strings off, definitely takes me away from enjoying my food. Here, they are perfect. And I really get to enjoy the slight crunch and the salty-sweet marinade. These are also perfect for me to snack on later (if I order it when I’m at work).


Bean Sprout Salad, minty, with a little tiny kick in white soy. I’m a texture eater and there’s a nice crunch added with the Marcona almonds.


Dumplings. Little pouches of deliciousness. As an avid dim sum-er, I’ve had many kinds of dumplings in my life. These weren’t anything super special. Probably wouldn’t order it again (on my own anyway).


Ermergerd. I don’t remember what this was called. I wanna guess that it’s the tuna poke. I usually don’t like tuna poke (I prefer salmon), but this was amazing. It’s got these little crunchy rice pearls and the sauce is delicious. It’s cut really thin and melts in your mouth. I’m really particular about what raw things I eat, and I basically ate this whole dish myself.


Guys. This is the uni waffle. Two things I’ve never had before. Caviar, and uni. AND THEN I GO AND HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER AT ONCE.


It was really intimidating. I’m not going to lie. I didn’t even know how to take on this first bite. I just went for it. It was a little messy (ok a lot) but wow. It just hits you. The toppings are cold, but the waffle is fluffy and warm. It was like getting knocked over by a wave you weren’t ready for. I could really only handle two bites before I had to take a break. But I did find myself wanting to have it again later. And think about it, a lot. If I eat this again, it would have to be shared with a friend!


And of course, you can’t go wrong with the buns! My favorite is the oxtail. It’s a nice crunch to the softness of the bun. I always get it. Don’t worry, my daughter just took a bite of the bun.

If you get the chance check it out! I love it because it’s convenient and I don’t have to find parking in DC. Win-win for me!

Life with Bawse: Dog Walking Etiquette

I know, I know, it’s been awhile since we updated on life with Bawse. He’s a grown up now so nothing new, just the same ol’ same ol’. He’s a big brother, and so he’s been very busy minding over his little sister and …attempting to keep her out of trouble.

We still occasionally go on family adventures where we bust out the stroller and go for a nice walk at the park. Yes, we know he’s a pitbull. Yes, we know the stigma around them. But we’ve raised him since he was a tiny, goofy pup and know his nature. Yes, if you don’t know him he can look intimidating at times, especially if you’ve already have a preconceived notion that pitbulls are “vicious”.

As a pitbull parent, I feel like I am much more strict on dog walking etiquette than others with more “friendly” breeds. I was recently inspired by the dog-walking service, Rover to write about some dog walking etiquette that I follow, and hope other people follow.

Keep Your Dog on a Leash

Bawse is always on his leash in a public setting. He is always asked to walk by our side, or behind us, and told to keep eye contact. We’ve come across plenty of people who just let their small dogs run around off leash. And there are countless times where they would run STRAIGHT up on Bawse. This angers me because if anyone or anything runs up on you that you don’t know, you would be on guard, so Bawse has every right to take a protective stance. He is a lot stronger than me, so if something like this happens I ask him to sit and wait patiently, hoping that whoever owns that dog would stop or grab their dog before Bawse loses his patience. Because you know that as soon as he even sniffs another dog, the owner will be quick to act like he’s about to attack their dog, when clearly they are at fault.

If we are not at a dog park, keep your dog on a leash. Sometimes I feel like people intentionally try to get a rise out of Bawse just so that they can say something bad about pitbulls. Luckily for us, he is very patient, probably more so than my husband and I because we would be the first to yell at you about keeping your dog on a leash. One time a lady saw us walking Bawse and intentionally UNLEASHED her poodle who ran straight up into Bawse’s face. Bawse immediately sat down and looked at us like “What the hell Mom?!” and basically waited for us to handle it. My husbanad quickly yelled at the lady to get her dog.

If you can, cross the street.

I don’t know your dog, you don’t know mine. We aren’t looking to make new puppy friends. If we did, we would go to the dog park. When we are walking in the neighborhood, or hiking at a local park we are on a mission. Usually if we see other people with dogs we try to walk away from them, or cross the street because we know dogs are curious and will want to sniff each other. If we are on a small path and see another dog coming, we have him sit, and wait to the side until they walk by if there isn’t enough room for both of us. There has been an instance where the owners just let their dog get in Bawse’s face. Move your dog, and keep walking. Clearly we got out of YOUR way to be polite. So please take your dog and move quickly. We don’t want to talk to you, get your dog out of our dog’s face. This is not okay.

Pick up after your dog. Obviously.

This is a no brainer.

Ask the owner first before you pet someone’s dog. 

Bawse loves people. He loves kids. He gives kisses. He’s super friendly, and doesn’t realize how big he is. Some people’s dog are skittish and don’t like people. Don’t just roll up on someone’s animal and try to touch them without asking first. Bawse loves attention. But he needs to be introduced properly or he will jump and lick all over you. If we ask him to sit, and wait, he will sit and let you love on him as much as you want, but if you give him an inch he will take a mile…meaning he will knock you over and lick all over your face. Be careful what you wish for.


This is the obvious, most respectful thing you can do when it comes to walking your dog. Are there other things I’m missing, or something that you think would be good dog walking etiquette?

Photographer: Vina Sananikone

I love snail mail. I love sending out cards, thank you cards, holiday cards birthday cards etc. I like receiving and getting photo cards because I feel like its two in one. Usually greeting cards get tossed after a year, because who likes clutter? Not me after reading Marie Kondo’s book. Lol. But if I get a photo card it’s fun because I get the sweet sentiment you sent, but I also get a picture to stick on my fridge (stick because my stupid fridge isn’t magnetic 🙁 but yay for for washi tape)).

Since I’m not a selfie queen or a skilled photographer, I turn to my friend Vina who is an AMAZING photographer. She does weddings, portraits and events. BUT HER REAL HUSTLE? Food. And she’s GREAT at it.

She’s done…

our engagement photos, maternity photos, captured special moments and most recently our daughter’s first birthday!

Whenever there is something special to capture, I call her first because she knows how to capture great shots without any awkward posing or stress. I hate being in front of the camera and she really puts us at ease! Our photo shoots are literally just a day at the park.

If you are looking for someone to capture the best moments from your special day, or events, I’d definitely recommend her. Her pictures always come out so full of emotion and well composed. It all comes together with a very natural un-posed vibe. I love it.

If you are looking for a photography I highly recommend her. She is located in the DC/VA area, and not opposed to traveling. Did I also mention that she is a graphic designer, and an instructor at the lemon bowl dc? What can she NOT do?

If you are looking for punny captions and yummy eye candy follow her instagram.


Tieks. Foldable italian leather ballet flats. With a hefty price tag. You might recognize them by their blue bottoms. For my birthday, I decided that I’ve been a good girl. I deserve a “treat yo self” moment. After asking friends that have had them, and reading blog posts…I did it.

First thoughts. They came really fast, and packaged cutely in a little box with a flower band. It came with a bag for the flats, and a bag for your shoes (for when you kick off your heels and switch to the flats). Nice little perks. Eye candy.

The leather is so nice. I think this is my first real leather shoes because whatever my other shoes were made of are not the same as this. Putting them on at first is super snug. They say if you are a half size, order the next size down (they only have whole sizes). I totally understand why.

They were snug at first. Nothing terrible. Just stiff. After wearing them all day at work, my dogs were definitely ready to be free by the time I got home. After about a weekend in them in Vegas, they softened up and molded around my feet. Oddly enough my feet didn’t stink. Let’s be real ladies, don’t act like your flats don’t stink. Unless you spray alcohol in them at the end of the day (which works, thanks for the trick Nginn sisters!) which I don’t. I was like, wow this is magic unicorn shoes!

Well it has been about 3 months. The flats are super, amazing, comfortable. I haven’t folded them up at all though, because I wear them so much. And they are starting to stink a little (to me) but nothing over bearing, which is kind of a reality check. Definitely will start spraying them with alcohol…hope that doesn’t ruin the inside. Wish me luck. They are still holding strong and don’t look worn down at all. My normal flats, whether from target or nine west always end up looking busted by the 3 month mark and have to get tossed. So far, I think they are worth their price. I’ll check in again once they get WRECKED. If that happens.

Untitled Book Project

Some of you have been pushing me to write a cookbook. Some of you have been asking me when said cookbook will be done. Some of you have asked me straight up, can I send you some recipes.

Some of you have no idea what I am talking about.

When my mom was sick, and it was clear she wasn’t going to have much longer to live, a few things came to my mind. If I have children, they would never know their strong, beautiful grandmother, who was the best cook. Yeah, I was definitely one of those kids that thought my mom made every thing better. Even her jar spaghetti. How will my kid know the tastes of Laos? How will they know the labor and love that is traditional Lao food? That’s when I realized I needed to get all my favorite recipes from my mom before she passed. Sound selfish right? But not really.

Growing up I was always in the kitchen with her. I’d be holding the bowl while she was kneading the dough for thick rice noodles. Or tasting the papaya salad when she needed someone else to taste it after pounding it in the mortar pestle. I was the one pouring the sauces into the eggroll mixture because her hands were all meaty and gross from mixing it. I was her little sous chef as soon as she trusted me to use the knife. I prepared and cooked the sticky rice. I loved being with her in the kitchen. And I hope that my future kid will feel the same way.

In her last months, we spent our time together in the kitchen. Me, writing down and making all my favorite dishes with her in the kitchen. Her, telling me exactly how to do it. Savoring all the flavors together one last time.

Fast forward a few years. I helped a local chef with her two restaurants, submerging myself in both front of house and back of house activities and promoting the flavors of Laos. Then I had a baby. And started another blog. Then I got lazy because now there are two Lao restaurants around to fulfill my cravings, instead of putting in the effort myself. I stopped working on my mother’s recipes.

Now I am back, and ready to start writing, testing, retesting, cooking, tasting and shooting these recipes. Time to collect it all together with the found memories and make a book. Because now I have a daughter, and I’d want her to learn about her grandmother through the food. Technically it would be categorized as a cookbook, but really it’d be a journal of memories and recipes.

Wish me luck.

Leftover Crab Bisque

I’ve made this before with lump crab that costs like a million dollars at the grocery store. After eating as many crabs as I could stuff myself, I decided to not let it go to waste, and used my crab picking skills to pull out my own lump crab meat and made a yummy bisque. There aren’t any measurements because I make this to taste!

1 can (10.5oz) of Condensed tomato soup
1 can (10.5oz) of Cream of mushroom
Lump cooked crabmeat
Whole milk
Curry Powder

In a pot whisk together the tomato soup and cream of mushroom. Add one can of milk to start. Whisk until well mixed. Add crabmeat, make sure not to add too much. You want it to be a good amount of crab per bite, not too much, not too little. Stir till well mixed, turn on the heat to medium. Bring it to steaming, NEVER LET IT BOIL. Stir frequently so it doesn’t burn on the bottom. Once hot, taste it. And add black pepper, salt, and curry to taste. If it’s still too salty, add milk to make it creamy.