Friends, Vietanamese Food And Balance

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It was a really crappy week. As you probably know by now, both of my kids were sick, I didn’t feel that great, The Hubs was away on a conference and I felt pretty sorry for myself.

But it ended really well. In the end, my week was pretty great.

Here’s how it started. I was stressed and tired and hadn’t even realized it. But then, during my chat about Finding Balance with Katie from Katie’s Cucina and Kim from Cravings of a Lunatic I noticed that I was getting a bit…erm…sad. I felt vulnerable and trembly and almost weepy at one point. Thankfully, I’m not sure if you’ll be able to tell though because the sound was wonky this week. No idea why. I apologize. But it’s here if you want to see me get emotional:


The next  morning I got a really nice email from Kim, just checking in to see how I was doing. Having someone reach out and ask, “How are yah?” can make such a difference. In her email she also mentioned that I should get out and spend some time with girlfriends. In my head I was like, “Oh yeah. Because that’s totally possible right now. Not.” (Is it dorky to still say “not” at the end of a sentence? Or does it just tell you how old I am? Either way, I don’t care because today I’m happy and I won’t let your “yes, it’s totally dorky and you’re very old” insult upset me).

But I’d forgotten that I did have plans to get together with some girlfriends this week. Somehow in my head it had come to seem like work though and I hadn’t been looking forward to it. See, I had volunteered to organize our monthly Central Florida Lady Bloggers Meet-Up. And in true, “I take on too much and always go over the top and am an idiot” fashion I had chosen a location that is BYOB and so I had told everyone that I would supply the drinks. And not just a couple of bottle of wine. Oh no. That would be simple and so not me. I instead told everyone that I would be recipe-testing on them for an upcoming drink series that I’ll be running leading up to the Academy Awards.

Central Florida Lady Bloggers

Picture courtesy of Colleen Burns’ Phone

What should have been a fun night with some of my favorite Florida girls became this huge crazy deal in my head. I was worrying about coming up with the actual drink ideas, how I would mix everything for them, how many people would show up and did I have enough, too much? *sigh*

But then with Kim’s email I realized that these gals are lovely wonderful people who totally get that life is nuts. And many of them are my good friends and I should be EXCITED to go hang out with them. And so, on Wednesday night, the  night before the meet up, I put on some Sade (see, told you I was old) and started mixing and taste-testing some drinks. It was a relaxing and fun evening on my own having fun doing bits of tasting in the kitchen.

For the meet up I was relaxed and looking forward to seeing my friends. And it did turn out to be a great evening.

The drinks went over well and I can’t wait to share the recipes with you.

Pho Hoang Minh, a wonderful Vietnamese restaurant in Oviedo, FloridaThe restaurant I’d chosen, Oviedo’s best kept secret: Pho Hoang Minh (1361 Alafaya Trail, next to the Tuesday Mornings) was fabulous. The owners (two sisters!) were very accommodating and let me set up my little bar and brought me lots of glasses and tons of ice. Perfect (note that they are in the process of getting a liquor license so they will not always be BYOB. Call ahead to find out: (407) 542-7855). The food was fabulous, as always. I love their fresh spring rolls to start. And they surprised us by bringing out some mussels topped with crushed peanuts. I’d never had mussels like this and it was such a fun twist. My Pho had that rich broth and fresh accompaniments that makes it such a hearty but light-seeming meal.

The best flavor I had all night was when J from J’s Everyday Fashion let me taste the house-made soy sauce that came alongside her stir fry. I’d never had homemade soy sauce before. It’s less salty and brighter in flavor than the bottled stuff (there were bottles on the table so I was able to do a quick comparison to make sure). SUCH a treat!

Also a treat was the coffee flan for dessert. Somehow the coffee on top and the flan underneath combined to make the whole thing taste almost alcoholic. I had to ask if there was kahlua on there. Nope. Just coffee. Deep, dark and good.

So the food was also a success. Yay!

And did I have fun?

I was a bit busy mixing drinks and eating during the actual event. But then afterwards I got the friend-fix I was craving. It happened in the parking lot. I swear, I’ve had some of the most hilarious moments while standing with a group of girls in a parking lot after dinner. At one point I laughed so hard that I had tears and then I even snorted! And somehow the snorting wasn’t a bad thing.

When I got home, The Hubs had returned from his week-long conference. We hugged. We kissed. We sat down to chat over a glass of wine.

Everything had shifted and I felt balanced.


Here’s a list of the amazing bloggers who were at the Central Florida Lady Blogger Meet-Up this month. Check them out! They’re the coolest!:

J’s EverydayFashion

Vinobaby’s Voice


Oh My Goods

Run, Eat, Date, Sleep

Crazy Running Legs

Eat: Watch: Run:

Katy Widrick

Ty Style Me

Cassandra Branson




5 Responses to “Friends, Vietanamese Food And Balance”

  1. Jackie @ MomJovi — January 25, 2013 @ 10:31 pm (#)

    You’re so awesome my friend. I have no idea how you manage to get two kids clothed, fed and functioning while your husband travels, without even worrying about all the crazy cool stuff you do here on CTS. Throw in some sickness plus pulling together some kick-ass cocktails? No clue how you did it.

    It was such a fun night and like you, I’m so glad I pulled myself out of my funk to come. It was sorely needed and gave me such a boost to my week. I miss you and we WILL plan a Fitting Blogging Into Your Life reunion ASAP!

    Can’t wait to try my hand at your recipes! thanks for one of the most fun and certainly best planned Lady Blogger meetups ever!

  2. Andrea @ Run, Eat, Date, Sleep — January 25, 2013 @ 10:03 pm (#)

    I had such a wonderful time, and I loved all of the drinks! So creative and very tasty! Our parking lot laughs really cured a lot of my sadness too, and I’m so glad I went!

  3. Kim Beaulieu — January 25, 2013 @ 9:56 pm (#)

    Awe Christine you are so sweet. I am so glad I sent that email. I am sorry however that you got sad during the chat. I tried to veer off the subject as soon as I noticed. I’m such a huge believer in getting out with girlfriends, even if it’s only once per month. And you made it out which makes me wickedly happy. I still say not at the end of sentences too, maybe it’s a Canadian thing. So glad the kids are improving and you are finding your own balance. It’s a challenge every day for me.

    I look forward to checking out some “new to me” blogs. Wish I could come hang out with you ladies.

  4. Cassandra @ Crave Local — January 25, 2013 @ 9:38 pm (#)

    In spite of such a rough week, you were poised and totally together last night. Thank you so much for such a warm welcome, too. Can’t wait to create some epic food and cocktails together! #orlandoladybloggers rock!

  5. Kerry Ann @Vinobaby's Voice — January 25, 2013 @ 4:43 pm (#)

    Those drinks were delish! Thanks so much for working so hard. I can’t wait until you post the recipes :)

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