Tuesday, August 27, 2013

engagement photos...

engagement sessions with a professional photographer can be pricey, and our dear friends mike and jen offered to take them for us.  we went up into the hills in santa monica and had some fun.

we got some action shots...

we added some props...

and for the grand finale...

we were able to enhance and add filters to them on picassa, and then we selected 4 or 5 of our favorite photos and had them made into "save the dates".  we sent them out randomly, so it was fun to see which ones people received.  our photography package ended up including an engagement session, so we got to do it all over again, but on the beach, so it had a very different feel to it.  it was a fun day to hang out with friends, experiment with the camera and check something off my wedding to-do list.

Monday, August 26, 2013


today is my 32nd birthday and i am feeling so grateful for all the love!  i know this is going to be a terrific year!

my 3rd birthday...

Friday, August 23, 2013

banana bread (or muffins)...

jarad is going to yosemite this weekend to hike half dome and camp.  when he goes camping, i always make sure to send him off with some home made goodies, and to have a great dinner waiting for him when he gets home.  this time i am sending him off with some banana bread muffins.


1 cup mashed bananas (2 medium bananas)
1 cup of butter (2 sticks)
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 t baking soda
1 t vanilla extract
pinch of salt

how to:

in a large bowl use a hand mixer to combine sugar and butter.  then add banana, egg and dry ingredients.  you can either bake off in a loaf pan or make muffins.  this makes about 18 muffins.  bake at 350 for approximately 12-15 minutes.  and approximately 45-50 minutes for a bread.

***i made a few adjustments to the recipe to make it lower calorie.  i substituted 1/2 cup of applesauce for one stick of butter and used low fat sour cream.  the apple sauce keeps the muffins moist, and you won't miss the fat***

Thursday, August 22, 2013

more cemeteries...

in one of my older travel posts, i mentioned that i like to take pictures of cemeteries if i happen to stumble upon them on vacation.  here is one we drove past while on our honeymoon in playa del carmen, mexico.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

ranch style meatloaf...

this ain't your grandmother's meatloaf recipe...it is updated and full of flavor, while still remaining the ultimate comfort food.


1 lb. lean ground beef
1 large egg
2 cups bread crumbs
1 medium zuchinni (grated)
1 package of dry ranch seasoning mix
1 T italian seasoning
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1 t crushed garlic
5-6 dashes or worchestershire sauce
4-6 T BBQ sauce
salt and pepper to taste


1/4 cup BBQ sauce
few big dashes of hot sauce
3 T ketchup
2 T brown sugar

how to:

combine all ingredients and throughly mix.  the zucchini tends to let off a lot of water while cooking, so you may need to add more bread crumbs if the mixture feels too wet.  form in the shape of a loaf and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 40 minutes.  brush the glaze on top of loaf several times while cooking to form a crust.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

sage cleansing...

in many cultures burning sage is a cleansing ritual and promotes healing.  you can buy a bundle at your local farmers market or sometimes a health food store for a few bucks.  just burn it and let the smoke hit all the corners of the room, and think or say good thoughts of healing, new beginnings and growth.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

wedding bands...

jarad is not one to wear jewelry and didn't see himself wearing a wedding band.  he offered up the idea of getting a tattoo in its place.  i didn't mind, but we decided not to do anything traditional.  instead we liked the idea of getting matching skull tattoos.  jarad's on his ring finger and mine on my left wrist.  it is symbolic of "until death do we part" and of course my love of skulls.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

sushi corn...

summer is the best season for corn, and although it is perfect on its own with some butter, salt and pepper, this recipe for "sushi corn" is our new favorite.


1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 T soy sauce
1 t sesame oil
nori or rice seasoning

how to:

cook your corn as you usually would in boiling water.  in a bowl mix your mayo, soy sauce and sesame  oil.  brush on cooked corn and sprinkle nori seasoning on top of corn.  you will love how these asain flavors give your corn a makeover, also try this recipe as a dipping sauce for a steamed artichoke.  

this corn is also the perfect side dish for my asain style meatballs, i am pretty sure this is jarad's new favorite meal.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

wilfred speaks...

wilfred is a fast learner and has some new tricks to show off.

click here to see..

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

wedding cake...

now that we are "newly weds" and my wedding checklist is complete, i am ready to start sharing some of our unique ideas and money saving tips.  wedding cakes can be expensive, and i saw this as a place i could save money.  i decided to have a home made dessert bar instead, with a small cake for us to cut.  i asked some friends and family if they would be willing to bake (or buy) some bite sized goodies.  i got all my platters together and my caterer helped to set up the "dessert bar".

we had an assortment of brownies, rice krispies treats, lemon squares, mini cupcakes and cookies. 

our dear friend bought us a small cake from lido bakery in manhattan beach for pictures and cutting.

my mom and sister found some awesome candles that were day of the dead bride and groom skeletons, which is very suiting for jarad and i.  it was the perfect wedding topper for our mini cake.  as my mom said, "you probably won't see it in a bridal magazine, but it fits your style perfectly."

i kept the candles, and plan on getting a slice of the same cake from lido bakery every year for our anniversary. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

big bear weekend...

last weekend we went up to big bear for the night with a bunch of friends, it was a fun last minute adventure.

there were 6 couples and 3 dogs sharing a beautiful home just minutes from the lake.  we enjoyed a great dinner together and a fun game night, and we even got to take wilfred to a dog beach earlier in the day (he didn't really enjoy it). it was nice to get out of LA, even if it was only for a day and enjoy the mountain air.

Monday, August 5, 2013

garden box take 2...

last summer was so much fun watching our garden box take off and enjoy some of our own home grown produce.  we were late to start it this year, but we have re-planted it with, zucchini, snap peas, tomatoes, basil, jalapeƱos, thyme, dill, lettuce and chives.

here is our box, about 3 weeks after planting.

we recently started noticing some holes in our garden box, we thought it was the neighbors cat sleeping in it, until we discovered wilfred digging up the jalapeƱo plant.  fortunately our neighbors (who recently moved) have given us some pepper plants (not sure what kind), so those will go in its place.  

Saturday, August 3, 2013

potatoes al gratin...

this recipe is so easy and simple and yet so decadent and delicious.  it is not figure friendly, so it is reserved for special steak dinners and guests only.


2 1/2 pounds potatoes
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 t. crushed garlic
1 t. thyme
1 t. rosemary
4 oz gruyere cheese (grated)
salt and pepper to taste

how to:

combine cream, milk, and all seasonings in a sauce pan and warm through.

peel potatoes and slice about 1/8 inch thick.

 in a greased casserole dish, layer the potatoes and cover them with the creamy mixture.

add grated gruyere cheese on top and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 70 minutes or until mixture is bubbly, cheese is golden and potatoes are fork tender.