2011 in review

*Where was this taken? Scroll to January for details...

2011 was an exceedingly busy year with lots of travelling, weddings, and travelling to and from weddings. I explored two countries I'd never visited and I found a new job that was more difficult than I ever imagined but also more fun that I could have hoped. My job switched from working with young people selling things to working with old people trying to sell things to young people - and them not understanding why those young people weren't biting. This is where I come in. Of course though, being closer of age to the young folks, the older people didn't understand where I was coming from either.

I made new friends, started mentoring students, collaborated on cake pops, suited up in Dallas Cowboys pads and crafted (not all at the same time). I became so busy with work, weddings, and crafts I didn't sleep, stopped exercising, continued eating, and gained weight. The nuptuals eventually subsided and I started working out again, turning some of that newfound fat into muscle. Unfortunately, my pants, like honey badgers, don't care - they can't recognize the difference and are unrelenting. Feel free to write to your congressman regarding my pants. This is most definitely a petition-worthy issue.

I stopped blogging and lost touch with good friends for a while, but reconnected over the holidays. I hope to blog somewhat more consistently in 2012.

I faced new challenges and learned new lessons and have a better understanding of where I want and need to be and where I don't.

In 2011, I lived, laughed a lot, ate maybe even more than I laughed, and moved forward towards bigger things. Here are some of the highlights. Ideally, I'll be able to turn some of them into full blog posts, but once again. It's been really busy (and wedding-y).


The redhead, my best friend Wendy and I started off the year right, in a foreign country where we were all illiterate.*

*except for the signage at MBK Center in Bangkok at the top of this post, which we had no problem reading

What was going to be a destination wedding turned into an international adventure to Thailand and Vietnam with my best friends, who aren't necessarily best friends with each other.


Jessica from Objects of Confection and I taught a Valentine's cake pop class, hopefully, the second of many more lessons in cake-poppery.


I went to my first SXSW interactive with a badge(!). I found myself drinking cocktails mixed with Monster Energy Drink and reuniting with an old friend over hotdogs and leapfrog. It was crazy times.

photo by annie ray

Oh and I started taking sketchnotes.


photo by Nathan Russell

photo by Aimee Wenske

In an effort to raise money for Japan earthquake victims, I made a whole bunch of Sanrio cake pops for Austin Bakes for Japan (using Objects of Confection cake balls, of course). Hello Kitty was a best seller at the bake sale.

I celebrated a birthday, and I celebrated a reason to have birthday cake.


The redhead and I went to Mexico and did not get beheaded. His parents kept talking about beheadings before our trip. Luckily, we kept our cabezas intact.

Our main purpose for this trip was for a private destination wedding. The bride wanted to keep wedding-related posts under wraps until her big ceremony and reception in the US. I'll post more once I get her permission.

Michelle Savage-Mena wrote about me and my cake pops in the Austin Post.


This guy turned the big 2-9 and ate a bunch of barbeque.

I also had my 10-year high school reunion. It was in a small banquet room of a hotel with open iced tea, and incredibly awkward. At least I didn't get really fat.


Work sent me to the NACUFS National Conference in Dallas and my work partner-in-crime Meagan and I found ourselves in the Dallas Cowboys' locker room during the lockout.

The redhead and I ate cheese and drank champagne with our friends Dee and Ryan who always guarantee a hilarious time. We love these guys, but rarely get the opportunity to laugh (and eat) with them in person. They're Dee-lightful.

I went on the "East Coach (sic) Tour" with my family. It was a Chinese-language bus tour that somehow covered seven states and two countries in eleven days. This wasn't really a highlight, as much as an extremely bizarre life experience I don't ever want to relive, but the memories will last a lifetime. Luckily, the tour didn't.


The East Coach Tour continued through the first week of August including my favorite part, The Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls. I'd like to visit Canada again without a tour bus.

The Fall semester started, which everyone at work - old and young - refers to as the "crazy semester." I hired a bunch of new interns.


photo by annie ray

My work team and I planned (and marketed) our first big event - Mexican American Cultural Dinner and it was a huge success.

Texas Football started again. Meagan turned 30 and continued to look 23.

I was in put in charge of a banana suit that was accidentally shipped to a different state. Luckily it was later found. On me.

You can now call me Commander Bananasuit.

We went to ACL, one day of it anyway, and found a few old friends. You might not guess which one of us found Kanye's performance life-changing. HINT: Here's a picture of that person from 2009.

kathyphantastic donated cake pops to Objects of Confection's Sweet Relief bake sale raising money for the Central Texas fire victims.

On our way to yet another wedding in New York, the redhead and I visited our friend Fran in Philly and ate a lot.

Here we are eating Bassett's Ice Cream.

Fran convinced me to start using my Instagram account, so there's another place to follow me, if you please. I'm kathyphantastic there.


I was reunited with my good friend Katy who I worked with at IKEA. In NYC, we ate veggies, talked clothes, and I finally met her dude. Our dudes talked about their digidevices. One day, I'll be able to afford to have Katy design some furniture for me. Maybe a replacement chair for the one the redhead broke in 2011?

The redhead and I went shopping, ate doughnuts, explored Brooklyn, ate more doughnuts, and Jitneyed over to Montauk for Amy and Justin's nautical wedding and visited a lighthouse while we were there.

photo by Minnow Park

My workplace entered an intense Whole Grains Challenge. It involved a lot of (Whole Grain) pizza costumes.

photo by Jane Ko

I styled a bridal shower, went to a burlesque-themed bachelorette party, helped set up a La Dolce Vita Food and Wine Festival booth, and made a bunch of Halloween and dia de los muertos cake pops for Austin Chocolate Festival.


My best friend Phuong got married to her Hieu. I toiled away in a 3-day-long sweatshop leading up to the event, but it was worth it. Man, am I glad it's over though. 2011 was pretty much the year of Phuong. (Hi, Phuong, I love you.)

I'm the red one.

kathyphantastic and DottiePop did our first craft show at Craft Riot - unfortunately on the same day as Phuong's Vietnamese Catholic wedding and reception with afterparty immediately following. Needless to say, I wasn't there, but the crafts and Lauren Blazic from DottiePop sure were.

photo by Jane Ko

Ade and Robert also got married in a fake tiny town outside of Austin - not a Mr. Rogers train model-sized town, but one some people decided to create as an event venue. I'd never seen so many Asian people in a country setting nor had I seen a fake tiny town.

The redhead and I saw Green Day on a school night for $20 each.

I relaunched my Etsy store for the Holiday season and did a few giveaways on my kathyphantastic Facebook page.


I added a bunch of new products to the kathyphantastic Etsy store with fab photos by my friend Aimee Wenske.

kathyphantastic's second booth at a craft show - Austin Flea Holiday Show feat. Kathy Phan. I again shared the booth with my friend Lauren from DottiePop.

This led to a lot of dog and cat drawings on mugs to cap off the holiday season.

I took the opportunity tag along on a brief trip to Denver and see my friend Courtney while Chris went to work meetings. It was cold.

The redhead and I went to a bunch of Holiday parties over the course of a weekend. We checked in at 4 events on one Saturday.

We stayed in Austin for Christmas with Chris' family. I decorated ginger cookies to look like the redhead for his family's Christmas presents. The day after Christmas, Boxing Day to some, we drove to Houston for a brief visit with my parents who generously gifted the redhead this generous (in fabric) Nassau, Bahamas t-shirt. We also had dinner and drinks with some good friends.

More Macarons

via Tina Phan on flickr.com
via Tina Phan on flickr.com

Lil Phan and I had a pre-Austin Kite Festival macaron adventure - this time from La Patisserie.

The bakery was really cute and included a room with a little nursery. A lovely paper birdie banner hung from the ceiling.

But back to the baked goods:

We ordered 12 (!) macarons from La Patisserie's macaron boutique and a pain au chocolat each. I had fun styling and stacking the macarons in different colorways, but Lil Phan only shared these two shots.

Oh yeah, my fave macaron? Caramel.


Kafe Leopold Brunch with Special Guest Fran

After posting an iPhone picture of the Lincoln Memorial on Facebook, my friend Fran excitedly replied that he, too, would be in DC for a wedding that weekend. Yay!

We decided to meet up for brunch in morning. After a little bit of Yelping and looking over a list of things to eat from my friend Carole, we decided on Kafe Leopold in Georgetown.



photo by Tina Phan

Boy were we glad we chose Leopold's. There I had the most amazing almond croissant I've had in my life. It wasn't flaky like La Boite (my now second favorite almond croissant). Instead it was dense, moist, and somewhat sticky. Lil Phan got 2 more for the road.

almond croissant

photo by Tina Phan


With so many choices, lil Phan had a hard time deciding. I think she's using her phone to look up some of the menu choices. She seems terrified of making the wrong decision.

She ended up going with this:


photo by Tina Phan

I had lemon souffle pancakes.


photo by Tina Phan

At some point, I got greedy and started stealing other people's food. I mean tasting other people's food.


photo by Tina Phan

Look at the bakery case. Drool.

IMG_0491 IMG_0494

Yay Fran and Yay brunch.


photo by Tina Phan

I'm not sure why the redhead's smile is so forced.


photo by Tina Phan


Full House house

Full House house

Last December lil Phan, the redhead and I found the Full House house. As in the house in the opening credits of the popular 90's TV show Full House.

In Front of the Full House house

It was great. lil Phan and I were much more excited than the redhead.


We had to take turn taking pictures in front of it (while the redhead just waited in the car).


Houston Visitor

Family Picture with Dad and Crazy Eyes

It's been a busy week and another busy week follows. Chris came down (somewhat forcibly) to Houston this week to eat lunch with my parents and go to Phuong's post Christmas party.

It was awkward as expected and my father asked him intriguing questions such as whether his parents' house had a chimney, how old his grandmother is and how many "hundred pounds" he weighed. My father also told Chris it was too late for him to start playing tennis (in life) and pretended to prepare to pelt him with tennis balls upon entry of the house. No injuries occurred.

Check out the crazy eyes. What do the eyes say about the man?


If neither lil Phan or I take the family pictures, there's always a ton of headroom or just generally bizarre portraits. Here's one taken by the Kim Son waiter I had to crop.

Yellow Jacket and Tree

P.S. That yellow J. Crew jacket came in. Petite size is a little short. Too bad that's all they had left. I'll keep that in mind for next time I fall in love with a J. Crew jacket or coat (expected obsession date: Fall/Winter 2010).