Nature’s gift: Violet Syrup

It’s that time of year again where violet flowers are wildly blooming and I love seeing the pops of colors on the ground.

But did you know they hold magic? And you can unlock this magic and enjoy in your tummy at the same time?!

I learned about violet syrup last year at a foraging class in Asheville. I tried it right away after I discovered they grew in hoards right in my own backyard!

Khang really enjoyed making mint juleps at Cinco de Mayo last year for our friends and was pretty excited when he heard they were blooming again this year!

Making this is so very easy and fun!

It’s basically like making a simple syrup, but you add violets.

Here’s the recipe:

1:1:1 ratio of water, white sugar, and violets.

For me, I picked 2 cups of violets and used 4 cups of water and sugar. My syrup was pretty but a more mellow color because I split the flower ratio in half. Keep that it mind!

1. Pick the flowers. Please make sure it hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides or around animals that may have relieved themselves. The more, the merrier and vibrant the color. Don’t forget to take a big wiff of the lovely violet scent. This step is important.

2. Clean and rinse with water like you would with cilantro. I usually rinse at least 3 times. Measure how much you have. This will dictate how much water and sugar to use.

Remember the 1:1:1 ratio!

3. Divide evenly into jars or glass containers. It doesn’t have to be glass but you can see all the loveliness better.

4. Pour water in pot, come to boil, lower heat, add sugar, stir till sugar has dissolved completely.

5. Carefully pour into jars of flowers while liquid is still steaming hot. Stir.

6. Let cool. Cover and place in fridge for 24 hours.

7. The next day, use a strainer to remove flowers.

8. Enjoy up to 1 year if it even lasts that long.

What I love about the violet syrup is how the color is natural and you don’t need to use artificial coloring.

Oh and did I mention the syrup turns PINK when you add acidic juices like lemon, orange, and lime!

It has something to do with the pigments in violets called anthocyanins which react to the lowered pH. Talk about a cool science lesson for the kids (and adults)!

This is Khang’s favorite reason to use the violet syrup. Hah! He uses it in his cocktails. But I prefer a simple mint lemonade!

The pictures below are based off of this Kentucky Lemonade recipe.

Khang prefers whiskey and garnishing with fresh mint. He used about 3 tablespoons of the syrup.

Mine is virgin and I prefer my mint muddled. I used 4-5 tablespoons because I added substitute the ginger ale with water.

I recommend you measure to taste.

Use your favorite drink recipes! Pour the violet syrup in first, then the lemon (or acid) to really witness that magic!

Also how sweet it would be for Mother’s Day if you made her a pitcher of pink lemonade with real violet flowers, which are edible by the way!

Just an idea. *Wink wink*

Thanks for reading and following along

with me,

Jules.

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Mini Embroidery Hoop: MS Gulf Coast Edition

Khang and I fall in love more and more with Charlotte. Interestingly enough with every visit back to the Coast, we have a deeper and deeper appreciation for where we were raised and grew up.

Maybe it comes with age or moving away. Either way, it’s the best of both worlds!

I’ve been trying to think of different ways to incorporate The Coast and that southern charm into our home. More specifically, things that give us the nostalgic feel of our hometowns of Ocean Springs and Biloxi.

With a little inspiration on Instagram and countless Google image searches…this is what I ultimately came up with. Each piece was stiched free-handed. No patterns. I’m pretty proud!

To say I’ve enjoyed working on this embroidery project would be a total understatement. I was happy to finish but a tad bit sad it’s over.

Here are a few short explanations of each piece:

A is for Apple Pie

My favorite type of pie. But I’ll admit, I enjoy the crust more than the apples.

B is for Beignets

Can you also picture the cloud of powdered sugar delight? And of course, the best beignets are made at Cafe Du Monde and enjoyed under their iconic green and white awning.

C is for Crawfish

Best enjoyed by sucking the heads for all the juicy and spicy flavors. I’m salivating just typing this…

I wasn’t happy with the awning and did it over…this would become a trend because I redid almost every piece at least once. 

D is for Donut

By the only real donut shop, Tatonut, in my hometown of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. To me it’s an unofficial historic landmark. Try their blueberry cake donuts if you can ever get one before it sells out!

E is for Egg

To be specific, a deviled egg with a sprinkle of paprika.

F is for Fleur de lis

The official symbol for our Saints Football Team and honestly, all of New Orleans. Khang’s been cheering them on waaay before Brees. 

G is for Gumbo

When Khang and I lived in Baton Rouge, there were gumbo tasting contests after 5K races. They take their gumbo seriously. And my Mother-in-law makes the best gumbo!

H is for Hot Sauce

The most famous brand back on the Coast would have to be Tabasco. Notice the tiny “T”? It’s still produced on Avery Island in Louisiana.

I is for Ice Cream

The flavor is Mississippi Mud Pie. Oh, I lie, that’s technically my favorite kind of “pie”.

J is for Jazz

This teeny tiny trumpet is in my top three favorite. I mean I love them all, but this one is at the top. Might be because I redid it around SEVEN times! I imagine hearing the slow blues music in my head.

K is for King Cake

Mmmmhmmm. It MUST be decorated with green, purple, and yellow frosting with a plastic baby secretly tucked inside. If honestly doesn’t taste as good if not. 

L is for Lighthouse

This is when I became deeply attached to this project. Not just any lighthouse, but the Gulfport Lighthouse, where Khang asked me to be his wife on the cutest sailboat during sunset in the bay a few days after our 8-year anniversary.

M is for Magnolia Flower

The Mississippi State Flower and Tree! And in my opinion, the most elegant of flowers. When they bloom, I know instantly before actually seeing them due to their distinct scent.

N is for Nuts

(almond, peanut, and walnut)

I am not a fan of nuts. But that does not stop Southerners from using them in so many dishes.

O is for Oyster

Raw, chargrilled, rockefeller…it’s all good! I prefer them raw on a saltine crackers with lemon squeezed on top and a dab of Tabasco.

The oyster underwent many changes…

P is for Pearls

I’ve always had a love for pearls. My promise ring from Khang is actually a pearl. I think every girl should own a nice piece of pearl jewelry.

Q is for Quilt

(Shout-out to Kim for the suggestion)

My super talented sister, Ginni, made me a beautiful crochet quilt about 6 years ago. The colors I used are based on it!

R is for Root Beer Soda

I don’t drink soda now, but when I was younger, Barq’s Root Beer was my favorite and originated in Biloxi! Every now and then, I crave a root beer float!

S is for Sailboating during Sunset

Y’all, basically our proposal story. And it’s Khang’s personal favorite!

T is for Tea

Sweet iced tea of course!

U is for Upside-down Pineapple Cake

As one of my favorite people, Ms. Debbie, advised that it’s best made in an iron skillet. It’s easier to make than stitch!


V is for Vegetable Garden

If you grew up in the South, you either have your own garden or know someone who does. Aren’t they just darling?! The felt turned out better than expected.

W is for Walter Inglis Anderson

This one hits home for me.

Walter Anderson and the Anderson Family had (and still) a significant influence on Ocean Springs. I went back and forth on how to represent him. I remember learning about the 7 motifs he repeatedly used in his paintings and ceramics during my visit to The Walter Anderson Museum(WAMA): straight line, zig-zag line, wavy line, half-circle, 2 half-circle, circle, and spiral. I chose those specific colors to imitate his watercolor paintings.

X is for Xilinous

(Shout-out to my brother, Greg, for this great word)

It’s actually an adjective. The definition is “of, like pertaining to cotton”. The word “cotton” was all I needed. I automatically thought of the cotton flower fields during my drives back and forth from Ole Miss to Starkville to visit Khang.


Y is for Y’all

Um, yeah. Y’all know why!

Z is for Zinnia Flowers

(Shout-out to my fellow Ocean Springsian??, Christine, for this great idea), which are native to the area and come in such colorful varieties.

And that’s it, y’all!

This little project has made its way close to my heart and I get so excited when I think about passing it down to my children and grandchildren.

A Phamily Heirloom for many generations to come.

Thank you thank youuu to all of those who gave suggestions and encouraged me along the way!

Thanks for reading and following along

with me,

Jules.

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Mr. Phamtastic

Khang,

You drive me absolutely crazy. And what’s funny is I drive you even crazier. You’re the only person I know who dislikes making a big deal out of their birthday, so naturally, I like to make up for it.

I know I tell you all the time, but here’s another time for the people in the back, you are the best husband.

Thank youuu for helping me with all my endless projects (and toughing out our disagreements that usually come along!), for immediately calling me out when I’m not being my best and keeping me grounded, for feeding me when I forget, so that the unlucky ones don’t feel my wrath (usually you!), and most of all, for inspiring me to live life like the greatest adventure it is.

I love you, Mr. Phamtastic.

Thank you for being so wonderfully you.

not just on your birthday, but everyday!

Truly yours,

Mrs. Phamtastic

A Fleurty Thirty Celebration

I’m sure you’re here for Khang’s awesome video he made of our vacation in Turks and Caicos Islands!

Keep on scrolling down after the video if you want to read more details about our trip. 

So here it is!

This was more than a vacation. It actually was a double birthday celebration!

We were celebrating my sister-in-law, Ngoc, and cousin-in-law, Kim Oanh, both turning 30!

YES, they were both born on the same day, December 23rd! Kim Oanh arrived during the day and Ngoc came along later that evening.

They call each other “twin cuzzies”. How precious right?!

Khang and I don’t normally prefer beach destinations because we get bored so easily with the sand, but Turks and Caicos was the perfect island for us. Especially with our sweet family!

The thing I love most about TCI is how undeveloped it is.

Now this might sound weird to some, but this means it isn’t littered with highrises (that obstruct views), souvenir shops, and franchises.

Which is the best to me because it keeps the true beauty and upholds the vibrant culture of the gorgeous island territories!

We went to nearly 10 different beach nooks and each one was unique to itself!

We technically went during peak-season, but goshhhh it felt like we nearly had each place to ourselves.

This website was the best source of info for me if you’re interested or planning a trip in the future!

In my opinion, a few absolute musts:

catch the breathtaking sunrises (more than once!),

put your phone or camera down and just take it all in,

dine at Mango Reef Restaurant (black truffle scallops FTW!),

dance your heart out at Danny Buoy’s,

rent a car to get around (big money savings + prepare for left-side driving)

grab a bite and take in the views for an unbelieveable experience at Bugaloos Beach. Y’all, we literally had a table in the water, feet in the sand, and ate conch!

sing “Part of Your World” while searching for seashells!

Just a few snapshots from our amazing trip!

Thanks for reading and following along

with me,

Jules.

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All angles

Right about now, our good friends, Sam and Cody are on a flight to New Zealand for their fabulous honeymoon!

They got hitched yesterday in an intimate New Orleans ceremony with their closest loved ones (like 20 people!) watching on.

Khang and I can’t wait to celebrate with the newlyweds in Charlotte!

Khang and Cody met in Baton Rouge through work, so naturally, Sam and I met too.

We clicked right away.

You’ve probably seen Sam on the blog when I took her graduation photos!

She has such a fun spirit, so when she causally mentioned wanting to take bridal portraits, I jumped at the opportunity with this sweet girl!

And gosh.. y’all, the photos (and Sam!) took my breath away. 

It could not have been a more perfect fall day. And we pretty much had the place to ourselves and couldn’t believe our luck!

Before and even during the photoshoot, Sam repeatedly commented about how nervous she was about taking photos by herself and on making sure that I get the “right angle” of her.

Honestly, I didn’t even stress about those things because she was covered in love and had no bad angles.

That’s just my opinion.

Don’t believe me, keep scrolling to see my session with this gorgeous girl!

Oh you know, just basking in the sun like no big deal. 

If you’re not swooning right now, then I have nothing to say to you. 

I don’t think anyone else could pull off a dress like this chick right here.

Just look at this gorgeous bride-to-be!!! 

What a B O S S.

She held this pose for sooooo long!

Sam, you’re a dime. 

I hope you realize by now that the camera loves you and all angles are yours

I can’t explain it but they just are and you just are. 

Thanks for reading and following along

with me,

Jules. 

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