Fall in the Great Smokies

After a wonderful night at Song Sparrow Hill, we woke up refreshed, ate breakfast, then hesitantly followed Boy and Mangus down the hill back to our car.

We didn’t want to leave! I regretted not booking a second night especially what was to follow later on that evening.

Our next stop was Max Patch Mountain in Pisgah National Forest.

The rocky and narrow winding roads were nerve-wrecking. I felt so bad for Khang’s car tires.

Oh but the views were gorgeous like the one below!

The fall colors peeked through more and more as we got higher in elevation. And so did my excitement!

Parking was ridiculous but the trail was short and pretty straight forward. And so was the steep incline hiking up! It brought back memories from Patagonia.

We were treated with 360º panoramic views!!
The colors were ahhhhmazing!!

And then we took a nap right there. 

Fun fact: I can nap anywhere, anytime. Ask my family and friends. 

Afterwards we walked around to enjoy the colors some more.

We also played with Hans’ self-timer and got a winning picture of us both for our Christmas card this year!  

Here is another attempt at freelensing. 

During my research, I read about the sunsets at Max Patch and really wanted to watch it. 

But we still had about 4 hours till sun down. I was growing hungry too so we decided to hike back down to the car to eat. 

The plan would be to hike back up Max Patch with all our camping gear and set up shop for the night.

Well… unfortunately, when we returned to the car, Khang realized his battery was DEAD.

It was partly my fault. When I’m excited, I tend to rush things and I rushed Khang…well you know how that works…

Fortunately for us, we had jumper cables and the owners of the car parked in front of us came back from their hike and helped jumpstart our car! Lucky stars I tell ya’!

So we drove back down the winding roads to AutoZone to have the battery checked just in case.

Car battery looked fine so…back up the mountain we drove. Khang was basically pro at this point.

And then we carried about 30 pounds of equipment/food/water/clothes back up Max Patch in time to watch the sunset.

Whew! I remember feeling so happy and relieved that we made it to our last stop for the day.

Or so we thought.

So Khang set up the tent while I took photos. 

I swear my husband could be a model.

Y’all, he is NOT posing. This was him setting up while glancing at a family trying to fly a kite.

Finally, we sat in our tent eating our favorite: Salami, boursin cheese, and crackers for dinner. 

And enjoyed the sunset in the old but Great Smoky Mountains.

I’ll never grow tired of Mother Nature’s beauty!

Wish I could say that was the end to an exhausting but exciting day. 

It wasn’t. 

Long story short, the sun took all the warmth with it and we weren’t quite prepared for the 40º temperatures. We thought we could brave the cold but it was miserable. 

So at around 8, we decided to pack all our stuff, hike back down, and drove home.

We were in our warm bed by midnight.

Hey, we tried. Really really tried. 

Another story for our future children. Hah!

Thanks for reading and following 

along with me,

Jules.

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Hidden in the hills of TN

The city has many comforts but the wilderness, it calls to me.

Our trip to the Smokey’s couldn’t have been timed better.

Don’t get me wrong. Charlotte is a great city. We’ve been enjoying it.

But it’s a city. A really big city. The biggest I’ve ever lived in.

And we I desperately needed to get away to the countryside.

Why?

I like to think that I deal with stress pretty well.

However, add the stresses of moving to a new city, new state, new job, and new house…it all adds up and I was quite frankly overwhelmed. 

I felt off.

I listened to my soul and knew I needed to be immersed in Mother Nature.

The deers in my backyard were not going to cut it anymore.

Enter Song Sparrow Hill.

This Airbnb by Tiffanie on her family’s 16+ acre property wins the award for Most Unique and Original.

It’s tucked away in the hills of Tennessee near the North Carolina boarder.

When I saw pictures, I knew it was where I wanted to recharge and refocus.

So we were lead to our campsite by the family’s sweet and protective two dogs, Mangus and Boy.

Apparently the owners bought Boy to tend to their chickens. But once he visited the campsite, he decided to stay there. And so they had to bring another dog to fill his intended position.

I don’t blame Boy. You’ll see why.

Below is the outhouse complete with a solar bag shower, “running sink water”, and a composting toilet. It was nothing short of charming.

Oh! I should mention that ALL of the wood was logged and milled from their property! The craftsmanship is sublime.

Our hosts even baked us “sweet bread” and had fresh eggs waiting. It was meant for breakfast the next morning, but it didn’t last very long. The bread was our dessert after dinner. It finished nicely after our grilled steaks.
I mean look at this freakin’ badass tent!!
We gathered around the campfire until it got too cold.

Y’all it was so perfect. The crisp night. The fire. The warm cup of tea. The stars. Shining brightly above the silhouette of trees surrounding our tent. Perfect.

I didn’t get a photo but there was also a wood burning stove inside the tent. You can see the smoke from the chimney in the photo below. It kept us very toasty throughout the night. 

I think the best thing about this lovely retreat was no cell phone service. 

You may laugh, however I’m not kidding.

Honestly, Khang has been extremely busy with work. This is the most I’ve ever seen him work even in college.

Always talking to his team, responding to emails, or catching up with deadlines and this is all after physically leaving work. He was bringing his work home and I was sick of it. 

While talking well into the night, I teary confessed to him that I secretly wanted to stay there in the enchanting forrest disconnected from the world because our current routine at home wasn’t making me happy. 

I mean, I don’t need that much attention, but the man was working too much. 

He agreed and we came up with a solution together. 

Things are thankfully better. I don’t know how many trips we could’ve taken out there. Hah! 

This last photo was taken with Hans “freelensing”. It’s a technique where you detach the lens from the body of your camera to get different focus points.

Khang said it looks like a painting. I think that’s good haha. Regardless, I love the results and will experiment more.

Until next time, Song Sparrow Hill.

Thank you for being just what we needed and more. 

Thank you for reading and following 

along with me,

Jules.

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Thi+Minh

It’s fitting that today “With Jules” turns

ONE-YEAR YOUNG.

Because it’s because of this blog that I’ve been given amazing opportunities to share my talents, which continue to make my heart happy. 

Wow.

What a wonderful journey it’s been so far.

Just want to take a second and say THANK YOU to all my family, friends, and friendly strangers who take time to follow and read along here on

With Jules.

I’ve gained intangible gifts that beyond exceeded my expectations. 

I won’t ever be able to truly express my gratitude for your love, support, and encouragement. 

I still don’t know where I’m going with this blog of mine but I’m loving the view so far.


Okay, today I get to share a very special wedding that I had the great honor to play a little part in.

These two. Minh & Thi.

Like the photos were delivered just yesterday!

My incredibly sweet and beautiful sister,“in-law” but we like to just drop that part, Thi said I made her Pinterest wedding dreams come true, but if we’re being honest, she made my dreams come true! 

A year ago, I wouldn’t have imagine being in charge of making wedding signs for anyone. Let alone Phamily members!

And here we are, I’ve made signs for 

FO U R weddings already.

Weddings are such joyous celebrations and I just can’t seem to get enough.

So of course, I was more than happy to oblige when Thi asked for “three small simple signs”.

I remembered thinking, “That’s all?! You HAVE to want more…”

And Thank GOD she did!

The venue was so freakin’ picturesque. I did more twirls around Mobile Botanical Gardens than I’d like to admit.

It was THAT gorgeous.

&&I was so happy for my brother and sister!

Enjoy the photos m’dears! Taken by the insanely talented Leslie Davis!

All lettering by yours truly.Can I just say… eucalyptus, you have been dethrone.

Plumosa is 100x times dreamier than you’ll ever be!
Surprisingly these simple table numbers were the most challenging for me. Go figure. I finished them the night before the wedding. Hah!
Any Harry Potter fans? 

Myheart did a little jump when she asked for these “bride & groom chair signs”. Classic. My favorite sign. Such a sweet quote. It was actually the easiest to handletter.  Again, go figure.

Love love love.

And apparently so did Thi because it’s hanging in hers and Minh’s kitchen!
But these next few shots,

They are my favorite.

You looked “Perfect”.

I love you, Thi.

And I love how we can always pick back up where we left-off.

You are an absolute gem. 

I lucked out with you. 

But Minh is the luckiest. 

Just like Khang said in his speech, “When I met Thi, I knew her and Minh were made for each other because I saw the same great qualities in her as I do in Minh.”

Y’all are meant to be together. 

It’s only inevitable that your marriage and life be splendidly spent together.

Thanks for reading and following along 

with me,

Jules.

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Khangology: Second edition

*Walking into church*

Me: Where’s your wedding ring?!

Khang: I get to be your mistress today.


Google, how do you cut men’s hair?

*30 minutes before he cuts his co-worker’s hair*


Do I have RBF (Resting b*tch face)?! *Looks in mirror* Damn, I do.


It has a bad bacteria in there…hmm what is it called again… cauliflower?


Khang: $70 for a yoga mat?!

Me: Well they plant a tree with every purchase.

Khang: What?! Give me $70 and I’ll plant a freaking forest.


You left and ate without me this morning. Eating is the most precious thing we do together!


Back in the glory days when I played football…I was third string running back…


*Singing in the shower*

UNBREAK MY HEART, SAY YOU LOVE ME AGAIN…

You can read the first edition here. Scroll down to the very bottom.

Warmly,

Jules

 

Autumn with a side of apples

Y’all, fall fall FALL IS HEREEE!!!

This is going to sound lame, but I never associated Autumn with apples. 

I always thought pumpkins!

And once I found an apple farm nearby, I saw apple-everything recipes everywhere!

So on the First Day of Fall, Khang and I welcomed my favorite season with farm-made apple cider, apple cinnamon donuts, and apple-picking at Apple Hill Orchard in Morganton, NC.

Just an 1.5 hour drive!

We ate those yummy donuts and downed that cider before I even thought about taking photos. Ha.

But we slowed it down and took photos while wondering around the orchards.

The most beautiful Red delicious, Golden delicious, and Cameo apples I’ve ever laid eyes on.

I have a sweet spot for farms/garden/anything-growing. So imagine my delight during my very first time apple-picking trip.

And oh so delicious!

We might’ve eaten one or two straight from the branch.

Below are Cameos and they have a crisp juicy tartness to them.

Khang liked them a lot.
Hmmm, Golden Deliciousness. This variety has a much sweeter taste to them and are great to bake since they hold their firmness. 

I liked them better than the Cameos.

We picked 13 lbs worth of apples for about $15.

I baked three batches of apple tarlets to welcome our neighbors the next day.

They turned out delicious!

In return, one neighbor made us apple bread with a caramel glaze–so freakin’ good! 

Thanks for reading and following along

with me,

Jules. 

Oh and all photos were taken by me and Khang with my Contax645 (Hans!) on Fuji400.

Except for that last one.

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