Fireplace Updates

Andrew and I love fixing up our home.  I really think little and expensive updates go a long way.  Over the two years that we’ve lived in our home, we’ve fixed up slowly but surely fixed up our fireplace. Here’s a look at our fireplace over the years (and holidays).

IMG_9438 |our fireplace when we first moved in July 2013. we added candles from Ikea, which was a mistake. don’t buy candles from Ikea. they crumble and melt way to fast.  It’s worth the money to buy better candles|
IMG_0426|we added a mantel (see how we did it here) and christmas decorations from Home Goods|
IMG_4838 |valentine’s day 2014 (burlap banner from our wedding) and new vases from Home Goods and the mirror I stole from my mom, thanks mom =) |
IMG_0401 |andrew removed the dirty, dusty old screen |
IMG_5659 |studying for my master’s exit exam|
IMG_1634 |newest update. I painted the inside of the fireplace with heat resistant black paint.  it makes it look clean and fresh|
IMG_1641 |I love how the black paint makes the white brick and candles pop.|
IMG_1643 |now I just would like a few more candles… my pup doodle decided the candles made fun chew toys|

Gâteau au chocolat Reine de Saba | Chocolate Almond Cake

IMG_1622
Andrew’s mom, Veronique, made us this gateau au chocolate while she was staying with us. It was so delicious! I’m not the biggest chocolate fan so the fact that I remade this cake right after she left is a very good sign. It’s very light unlike most flourless chocolate cakes. It has almond flour and whipped egg whites that create a very light and moist cake. This cake is named for the Queen of Sheba and this cake is definitely fit for a queen.

Gâteau au chocolat Reine de Saba
Ingredients:
200 grams semi-sweet chocolate (about 7 ounces)
200 grams unsalted butter (about 7 ounces)
120 grams sugar (about 4 1/2 ounces)
200 grams almond powder/meal/flour (about 7 ounces)
5 eggs

Directions:
Melt chocolate and butter. Add sugar and mix well. Add almond powder and mix well. Add 1 full egg plus 4 egg yolks and mix well. Beat 4 egg whites until firm. Carefully fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Butter a round baking pan. Bake cake for 25 minutes in a 350°F oven. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with whipped cream (and berries if you like). Enjoy!


   IMG_1585 IMG_1586 IMG_1613 IMG_1620IMG_1630

The Little Things 

|2nd anniversary = cotton & dinner at sugarfish|

Andrew’s mom, stepdad and sister have been staying with us for the last two weeks and they’re going to leave this weekend. With them in town we have been keeping busy with fun activities, like trips to Disneyland and nightly game nights.  It’s been fun having company!  Andrew and I also celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary on Monday and had the best sushi.  We have been reminiscing about our wedding all week.  If you’re curious about our wedding check out: Our Wedding LookOur Wedding Details, and Favorite Wedding Moments.

|view of the valley on a hike at Fryman Canyon|

|ladies breakfast at Joan’s on Third|

|DIY pizza party with friends|

|at the happiest place on earth with the one who makes me the happiest|

Herb Salmon

IMG_1529
My herb garden is overflowing so I’ve been trying to test out different ways to use my herbs. This salmon is super easy and tasty. It screams summer and makes a pretty presentation for a weeknight at home or an impressive summer dinner with friends.

Here’s how I did it: I just chopped up about of half a tablespoon of each: parsley, scallion, tarragon and dill. Squeezed the juice of half a large lemon. Combine the herbs, lemon and some softened butter. Stirred it all together and coated the two salmon fillets with the herb butter. I then sautéed over medium high heat until each side was browned and cooked the way I wanted. I plated the salmon and topped it with more freshly chopped parsley, scallion, tarragon and dill and squeezed the remaining half a lemon over top. Voila. Enjoy.
IMG_1502 IMG_1504 IMG_1512 IMG_1516 IMG_1518 IMG_1520 IMG_1528 IMG_1527

Isla Mujeres

IMG_6465|Isla Mujeres|

Andrew and I recently got back from a week on Isla Mujeres, an island off the coast of Cancun. Isla Mujeres means Island of Women, named because of Mayan statues all over the island of the goddess of fertility that were found when settlers landed on the island. This vacation was a graduation/birthday/anniversary trip. We had the best time. We did plenty of relaxing by the beach and by the pool and enjoyed each others company. We stayed at an all inclusive resort, Isla Mujeres Palace, which was so so nice.  We had planned on taking a day trip to Cancun to check out the beaches and resorts over there, but we loved the island so much that we never left.  It was perfect for what we were wanting in the trip- relaxation with exploration and adventure.  Besides laying on the beach eating steak tacos and drinking mojitos, we swam with dolphins, walked around the island and downtown, and visited a turtle and shark preservation. We had a blast.  I highly recommend this island and resort.

IMG_6380 |meet my new boyfriend, Picasso|
IMG_6293 |the most gorgeous beach- playa norte|

IMG_6310 |our daily lunch–steak tacos & mojitos|

IMG_6081 |south point of the island|
IMG_6222 |turtle and tiger shark preservation|
IMG_6153 |sunset while eating dinner on the beach|