I like to eat buttery pasta

Remember when AIM was a big thing? Everyone had cool names on it that had nothing to do with their real names (Christopher’s was kiwisurferboy… how adorable is that?) . Well, I remember a girl who had the name iliketoeatbutterypasta. And I remember that it made me hungry every time I talked to her. And today I’m thinking fondly of her as I talk about how I really do like to eat buttery pasta. ;)

Last week Jayda shared a photo of a Pioneer Woman recipe that she had made and I was smitten. I knew I needed to make it immediately. So I did. And it was ah-mazing. But I mean, it’s butter and pasta and some fresh herbs… what’s not to love?

pioneer woman pasta

I had some basil growing on my front porch that just begged to be added to this dish and I can’t help myself from adding garlic to pretty much everything I cook. But other than those two modifications, this is pretty much just like the Pioneer Woman’s original recipe.

Buttery Lemon Herbed Pasta


4 oz pasta
1 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced
handful of fresh basil & parsley, minced
squeeze of a lemon
salt & pepper to taste


1. Cook noodles according to package directions (I used tagliatelle pasta so it cooks for only a few minutes before it’s al dente). Drain and give your colander a good shake to remove excess water.

2. Melt butter in skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and let it begin to sizzle. After 30 seconds-1 minute when it starts to turn golden (just before it turns brown), toss in your cooked pasta and allow it to pan fry for a couple of minutes.

3. Slice a lemon in half and give it a good squeeze over your pasta while it pan fries. Then toss in minced parsley & basil. Add salt & pepper to taste, then toss together. Serve while warm.

Worth making. Over and over again. It’s all ingredients I always have so it’s perfect for a quick lunch when I’m not sure what to make. As always, The Pioneer Woman doesn’t disappoint. :)

Did anyone have a fun AIM username? I had a couple of different ones. Usually speck or speckjoy (speck and joy were both nicknames) or dinghaile (my name in Chinese – it means “ocean of joy”).

Do you like buttery pasta?

Love Rach

He thought I was European

Last week I was editing photos at Starbucks because I had a ton to do and if I work from home then I watch Friends while I’m working which makes everything take twice as long because I keep getting distracted by the show. Anyway, I got a drink, said hi to my barista friends, then set up camp in the corner with my headphones in so I wouldn’t be distracted. I was sitting there no longer than 5 minutes before a man dressed in a business suit who appeared to be around my age waved at me to get my attention. I popped an earbud out and he asked, “Where are you from?”

“Here, I guess. I’ve been in Memphis almost 7 years now.”

“Oh, I thought you were European.”

Blank stare from me. “Oh, um, well… no.”

“You look very European. And you dress like you’re from Europe, too.”

Awkward rambling response from me, “Thanks? Um, that’s cool. I mean I guess I spent some time living overseas as a teenager, but it was China so that’s not Europe. My family is from the British Isles, but that’s been a long time back…” inwardly I’m thinking “Just stop talking, Rach. Just stop talking.” 

He apparently found my rambling endearing because he grinned and shared with me that he had spent some time in South Korea and we chatted for a minute or two more (he asked what I was working on so I showed him the photos I was editing). I mentioned my husband and it was soon after that when he left with a polite goodbye. He might have been flirting or he might have just been the super friendly sort. However if he was flirting then I have to tell you: I’ve heard a lot of pick up lines in my day, but “I thought you were European” is a new one for me. ;)

And because I had to document my “European look” I took a photo when I got home from Starbucks. I am no fashion blogger and this shot was taken with the timer on my cellphone so it’s not the best quality. But here you have it:

rach the european

Yes, my friends, I am dark featured and curly headed (it’s still wavy & kinky even when it’s braided like in this photo). I’m asked often, especially when people hear my last name, if I’m Italian. The last name came with the marriage, I always tell them. People don’t believe me when I tell them that both my parents are fair skinned (and my dad’s a red head to boot!). What can I say? I’m a genetic freak (who takes after her grandmother). ;)

Met any friendly strangers lately? 

Do you look like your family in coloring or do you stick out like me?

Love Rach

That one time when I saw a group of men in high heels…

We went to an Easton Corbin concert this past Tuesday. He was a great entertainer! It has been in the 100s here lately (yesterday at 4pm when I checked my phone it was 105 with a heat index of 117! SO HOT!) and it was hot as blazes even after the sun went down at the concert. But the sky made up for it. I’m not sure what was going on with the clouds, but it was so cool looking!

sky at easton corbin concert

The kids I nanny have a pool in their backyard. We’ve been living in it this week with the 100 degree weather. Some kids have tan lines, Mallory has “goggle lines”. ;) She’s a cutie!

pool days

We also went to the zoo earlier this week. And it was crazy fun. But kind of a mistake. Because it was 100+ degrees and even in the shade you feel a little bit like you might be baking alive. But we went with friends and all the kids had fun together (especially when we got to the running through the water fountain part). So it was still a win. But until it’s below 100 degrees again I think we’re sticking with the pool. ;)

zoo dayIf you’ve never been, the sea lion show at the Memphis Zoo is awesome!

We had a girls’ night last night in Downtown Memphis. We ate at Aldo’s pizza and went to see Clueless at the Orpheum. I got down there a little early because I wanted to avoid rush hour traffic so I sat on a bench on S Main Street and just watched the world go by. It was a good little time for prayer and reflection. It was also an awesome spot for seeing a group of men (of all ages and races) marching by in high heels carrying signs protesting rape culture. Well, hobbling more than “marching” because high heels take some getting used to. Especially if you’re wearing them for a long time on uneven terrain. I had no idea this was happening, but it made me proud to be a Memphian.

no more collageMarch on, my friends. March on.

Happy Friday, friends!
Love Rach

Good news!

In September of last year Christopher injured his knee playing basketball. He took some time off from basketball to rest his knee and see if it would heal. He finally saw an orthopedic doctor in November and found out that he had torn his ACL and would need surgery. So in January he had surgery and began physical therapy. From day one he has been ahead of schedule in his recovery because he worked hard not only in PT, but also at home doing the exercises. So now after six months of determination and hard work, he has finally been cleared to play basketball again! And there is so much rejoicing!

christopher basketballI went to cheer him on for his first official day back yesterday! :)

I can’t tell you how happy I am for him. It has been 9 months since he last played basketball. And as I shared with you guys in November, that’s a big deal. Basketball has been such a huge part of his life for so long and I’m so glad that he’s able to play it again!


I really am amazed at his attitude throughout all of this. If someone told me that I had to give up one of my favorite things for 9 months, I know I wouldn’t have handled it with as much grace as he has. He hasn’t complained once about it. He was sad when he first found out that he would need surgery and how long the recovery would be, but instead of whining about it (as I surely would’ve done), he set his mind to getting back on the court as quickly as possible. So he focused all of his energy on recovery. It could have easily taken as long as a year for him to recover his strength and mobility in that knee. It took 6 months. Because he’s a beast and was so determined. He’s the bomb dot com. :D

So rejoice with us, friends! Because the joy of basketball is back in our lives! :)
Love Rach

Mixed Emotions This Father’s Day

Today was Father’s Day. And the older I get the more mixed emotions there are surrounding the day.

I think of my sweet friends who began to think of themselves as parents as their first pregnancy progressed… and then a devastating loss. And suddenly Father’s Day is a reminder of the sweet baby they should be holding in their arms instead of that deep ache inside.

I think of children estranged from their fathers because of choices one or both made that brought extremes into the picture.

I think of two families we know who have lost fathers (at ages 41 & 45) in the past month and how those families are experiencing their first Father’s Day without a husband and father present.

I think of three families we don’t know who live in Charleston and who are experiencing their first Father’s Day without fathers present because of senseless violence and racism.

I think of the orphans, the legal orphans, the kids in the foster care system. I think of the children who are abused by fathers and stepfathers. I think of the unwanted children tossed aside by men who never cared to be fathers or who never had a father in their own lives to teach them what fatherhood looks like.

And then I think of the good dads I know. Men who are dedicated to their families. Who love their children. Who are present.

Mixed emotions, I tell you.

I am thankful that I grew up with a father in the home. Not every kid gets that. I’m thankful that when I called my dad yesterday to wish him a happy Father’s Day he told me that he loved me. Not every kid hears that.

My husband no longer has that. He grew up with an amazing dad who loved him. And while physically his dad is still with us, the dementia has taken away so much of him. So when Christopher calls to chat with his dad on Father’s Day, there are no “I love yous” exchanged. Because my sweet husband’s father no longer knows he has a son.

Earlier tonight I asked Christopher how he felt about Father’s Day considering the situation with his dad and this is what he told me:

“It makes me sad that my dad isn’t the man I knew growing up anymore. I miss him. But I’m thankful for the good days. And I know that someday we’ll all be in heaven together and he will be healthy and whole again. I look forward to that.”

To which I responded with a very well articulated sob.

But I think he summed it up well. Because one day heaven will collide with Earth once again and Jesus is coming back. All things will be made right. No more abuse, no more tears, no more loss. And someday Christopher’s father will look him in the eye again and know his son.

Love Rach

A visit to the Noodle Shop

During the summer Christopher’s company gives their employees “summer hours” which means on Fridays he gets off at noon. This is super excellent. These days I only nanny part time and fill the rest of my time with the photography business and volunteer work. But now that Christopher gets half days on Fridays, I keep my Fridays open too. And we start our weekends early! Last Friday Christopher and I started our weekend with a lunch date at Tycoon Noodle Shop.

tycoon (7)

It’s definitely a dive sort of spot, but the food is excellent.

tycoon (8)

And any spot that has an old van out front promising the best Asian food in the city is definitely worth checking out!

tycoon (2)

We started with the spring rolls as appetizers. They come with a peanut sauce on the side. They are really yummy! Light and fresh and delicious!

tycoon (3)

We then got an order of dumplings to split as a second appetizer. Because we were hungry. And I was craving them. They were excellent.

tycoon (9)

I got the beef pho and it was SO good. Oh my goodness, it was great! And they give you SO much! It’s such a giant bowl. I ended up bringing home half of it home with me and eating the rest for lunch the next day. Yummy x 2!

tycoon (4)

A close up of my beef pho. YUM!

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Look at those NOODLES! I love pasta. So much. And this stuff was delicious!

tycoon (5)

And Christopher’s Tom Yum Soup. He loves this stuff! He’s been to Tycoon a couple of times over lunch with friends from work and he always gets this because he enjoys it so much. He only ate half his soup too and brought the other half home for lunch the next day as well. It’s a LOT of food! I didn’t try it because Christopher said it was spicy and if he says it’s hot, then it is hot. I can’t tell you how often he tells me to try something because “it’s really not spicy” and I take a bite and my mouth is suddenly on fire, ha! We just have different ideas of what “spicy” is. ;)

Click to add a blog post for Tycoon on Zomato

Do you like spicy food? I used to love it when I was growing up. Then we moved to China where “spicy” took on a whole new level. So I quit eating anything that was spicy at all. And now I’m a total wimp and have no tolerance for it at all, ha!

Love Rach

Lost in this moment…

For those who are new readers, there is a local radio station here in Memphis, Kix 106, that puts on free country concerts every summer. Christopher and I try to go to as many of them as we possibly can because they are such fun! Also for new readers… I would like to clarify that I wasn’t always a country fan. I became one rather reluctantly because my husband is sneaky. But I embrace it fully now. Yes, I do get sick of 5 songs in a row that are all about beer, partying, and how hot women are (because that’s all women are good for, you know. To be attractive to men. *eye roll*). But then that’s true with every genre I listen to (except for Christian music & most musicals). But I loooove the love songs. And I love the songs about simple life. And family. In its own way, good country music can be soothing to the soul. :)

us at concert

Last week we attended the very first “Smoking Summer Showcase” (what Kix calls their concerts). Kelsi even came with us! It was Austin Webb and Big & Rich.  Austin is newer to the scene, but he sings a couple of songs country fans will recognize (specifically “Raise ‘Em Up”). But I love his “Slip On By” song. It’s all about how quickly life passes by and how important it is to be present with your kids and let your spouse know you love them. Tears every time! Check out the song & video here:

And then Big & Rich played. They sing so many songs that even non country fans have likely heard (for example: “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” & “Look at You”). But my favorite by them is definitely “Lost in this Moment with You”. Until this concert I didn’t even know who sang that song, but I have always loved it.

I especially love this song because there’s a lyric that says, “I see your daddy walk his daughter down the aisle. I feel my knees start to tremble as I tell the preacher, “Don’t she look beautiful tonight.” 

I don’t know if I’ve ever shared this on the blog, but during our wedding reception the preacher who preformed our wedding pulled me aside. He wanted to let me know that when the doors opened and I walked down the aisle, Christopher smiled ear to ear and commented, “Isn’t she beautiful?” Neither Christopher or I got teary eyed on our wedding day (which I find hilarious because I get all teary eyed at everyone else’s wedding, haha!). I was just so floating on cloud 9 that day. But we did have those bursting-out-of-our-chest love feelings. And that’s what came out of Christopher’s mouth as I walked down the aisle. So yeah, I kind of love this song because it feels like it was written about us. :D

fairytale1003608 / 16 / 08

We tried not to get too kissy face when Big & Rich played the song since Kelsi was sitting right there with us. But it was really great to snuggle close to Christopher with his arm around me while we swayed back and forth to this sweet love song. :)

Is there a genre of music you used to not like, but enjoy now?

What’s your favorite genre of music? I used to listen to pretty much everything except ScreamO (do you guys remember that? I just couldn’t handle it). But these days I don’t really even listen to rap, dubstep, or soft rock anymore. I tend to be totally non hipster. I love mainstream and I’m not afraid to say it. Country, pop, Christian, punk rock, and musicals are my favorites. :)

Love Rach