Fashion: Wedding Attire Options

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

As I was looking through our calendar for this coming summer, I realized that we've been invited to 5 weddings! Apparently 2014 is turning out to be a popular year.  The weddings are a complete range of styles/dress codes too. I figured I should start looking for some possible dresses to wear. Shopping is rather limited in Tahoe with the closest "real" mall an hour away in Reno or two hours away in Sacramento, so I usually buy online to save time. Here are some of my favorites that I've found so far.

This is my favorite dress so far -- it just looks so fun and fancy! I think it would fit for any of the ceremony types too!
I think this dress is so fun! This would be perfect for some of the dressier/evening weddings.
This is a great dress for a more casual outdoor wedding. I also love the color!
This is a fun dress and I like the subtle high/low hem. It is also one that I think would be perfect for either a day or nighttime wedding.
Will keep you posted on what I end up finding! Open to suggestions too if you know of some cute new styles out there.

Gluten Free High Altitude Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed my photo of some freshly baked chocolate chip cookies! I decided to give this whole gluten free baking a try and though that this classic cookie would be the perfect place to start. I figured if I could make it taste as good as the original, then I would be sold on gluten free eating/cooking...

And we have a winner!

These turned out so delicious that dare I say it, are even better than with real flour! :) Also, since I live in Tahoe at 6,500' feet, I followed the high-altitude baking instructions as well to throw another twist into the recipe.

The best part was though, I was finally able to use my brand new Kitchen Aid mixer! It has been sitting in a box in our kitchen unopened for the last 7 months since I haven't really had a reason to cook with it. It was so fun and easy to use! It was also WAY better than trying to do it by hand or using a hand mixer.

I picked up some Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour at Costco the other day and found some Bob's Red Mill Xanthan Gum at our local grocery store, Raley's, in their gluten free section. Luckily you only use a tiny bit of xanthan gum per recipe because the tiny bag was really expensive! 

Otherwise I had all of the other ingredients in my cabinet and fridge which made it really easy to get to baking!

I followed the classic Nestlé Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe and their high altitude instructions that's on the back of their package of chocolate chips.  I just substituted the flour for the gluten free flour and added in the xanthan gum.  For the high altitude instructions, they have you increase the flour, reduce the amount of sugar and brown sugar, and add 2 tsps of water to the dry mix as well.

The rest of the recipe was straightforward and I had fun taking my time and really making sure everything was mixed nicely and trying out my new kitchen gadget.

Of course I also had to try the batter a few times! I did notice that the raw batter had a slightly different taste than "normal" cookies as the soybean flour has a distinct taste. I was a little worried that you'd be able to taste it once they were cooked as well.

Its been forever since I made homemade cookies from scratch so I had a little bit of an issue sizing the cookie dough on the sheet. By the way, has anyone else used these silicon non-stick baking pads before? If so I'd love to know if you have an easy trick for cleaning them!

I ended up baking them at 375 degrees F for between 8-10 mins depending on how large I made them.  I waited until the edges starting turning golden brown but the middles were still soft and then let them set on some cooling racks.

I'm so happy to report that these were some of the best cookies I've ever baked! They were super moist inside and a tiny bit crunchy on the outside. I'd dare say they came out perfect and not a single one was burnt! I will definitely be making these again :)

Gluten Free High Altitude Chocolate Chip Cookies

DRY Ingredients
2 1/2 c. Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
2 tsp. water
1/2 tsp. Xantan Gum
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp salt

WET Ingredients
1 c. (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, softened
2/3 c. granulated sugar
2/3 c. packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 12 oz. pkg Nestlé Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Combine dry ingredients into a large bowl (including the water)
  3. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in the mixer with the flat beater. The slower the better on the speed -- don't rush it.
  4. Once combined, add one egg at a time, mixing thoroughly after each one.
  5. Gradually add the dry ingredients allowing the dough to fully mix before adding more.
  6. Once it's fully mixed, add the chocolate chips and mix to combine.
  7. Create dough "drops" about the size of a large tablespoon on a cookie sheet lined with either parchment paper, aluminum foil, or a silicon baking mat.
  8. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown.
Note: High-altitude baking is for above 5,200' in altitude. For normal baking, visit the linked website for the original instructions.

Enjoy! :)

Weekend Recap!

Monday, February 24, 2014

This weekend turned out to be a rather warm one here in the mountains with temps in the upper 50s! Certainly has not been much of a winter out here in Tahoe unfortunately, but we weren't complaining about the warm weather this weekend.  We've been grilling almost every night for dinner which has been really nice (and tasty!).

Thai Shrimp and Quinoa!
We tried a new thai shrimp and quinoa recipe that turned out delicious and I'll share later this week. We also spent some time with our friends over at Schue Love enjoying the beautiful weather with a leisurely walk down to the beach and then enjoyed lunch at our favorite spot at Edgewood.

Love this view!

The weather was SO nice this weekend that we even grilled some tasty sausages on Sunday and sat out on our deck enjoying lunch and the sunshine! Bondi was a happy camper sunning herself on the deck.

I also completed my first FULL week of eating gluten free! After cooking in all week we decided to order a gluten free pizza from our favorite local spot.  Unfortunately gluten free crust only comes in small or medium sizes and not a large pizza which was a bummer.  They also charge an additional $3 to make it gluten free.  I don't think we'll order pizza too often because of it, but the good news was that it turned out really delicious! I couldn't tell the difference other than the thinner crust so yay!

I also experimented with some gluten free baking and decided to tackle the classic Chocolate Chip Cookie. I figured that this cookie would be the true test to gluten free baking -- if I could make it taste as good as the original than I would be sold on giving up wheat flour.

Well I'm happy to report they were a big success! I'll be sharing my gluten free high altitude version tomorrow so check back! Hope everyone's week is off to a good start!

PS -- help one of my clients, Getaway Reno/Tahoe, by voting in this poll here.

Our Engagement Party

Friday, February 21, 2014

Today marks 11 months of marriage for Dave and I, and looking back at our first year I can't believe how fast it went. Now with only 4 weeks until our big 1 year anniversary (and 5 years together!) I thought I'd be fun to recap our engagement, ceremony, and reception each week until our anniversary. So without further ado, we'll start with our engagement party!

August 4, 2012

Our engagement party was held about 4 months after we got engaged, and my parents were gracious enough to host the party at their house in Colorado! Over the years they have turned the backyard into a gorgeous setting complete with a Koi pond and small waterfall! The weather in August in Colorado is awesome with really warm evenings, so it was perfect for hosting the party in the backyard.

Invites: Wedding Paper Divas "Wine Bar"

For anyone that knows us, they know how much we love wine, so naturally, our engagement party needed to be wine themed! I was really excited when I found these invitations on Wedding Paper Divas and they matched the theme perfectly. 


We had quite a few friends and family fly in to town for the party, so my mom put together some welcome bags.  Inside we included some water bottles, sunscreen, and some special Colorado items like mints, chocolate, postcards, etc. They turned out really cute! The morning everyone arrived, I drove around and dropped off the bags at all of the hotels so they would be there when guests checked in.  These were a fun way to help kick off the weekend.

The Welcome Bags!

Main food table
My mom and I decided to put the menu and all of the food together ourselves for the party -- from scratch. I am never doing that again haha. We were baking/prepping for 3 days! Luckily we had lots of help with aunts, girlfriends, etc to make everything come together but whew! That was a lot of hard work. We wanted to keep people mingling throughout the party, so we opted for a "small bites" type menu that would be easy to eat while standing. We also hired one of our family friends to manage the food/drinks during the party so that we could actually sit back and relax.

Assorted Cheese & Crackers Platter
Swedish Meatballs
Caprese Bites
Blue Cheese Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Dates
Parmesan & Sausage Stuffed Mushroom Caps
Lamb Sliders on a Brioche Bun
Pear & Walnut Spinach Salad
Champagne Cupcakes
Dark Chocolate Chili & Whiskey Brownies
Assorted Fruit Salad

Lamb Sliders!

The Wine Table
Since this was a wine themed party, it was only fitting to have a full table dedicated to it! Dave and I decided that we should serve wine that had a story behind it that fit with our lives and we somehow managed to narrow it down to 3 main wines.  Check back later this week for the stories that match with the wine! :)

Four Vines Naked Chardonnay
Loxton Zinfandel
Buena Vista Carneros Pinot Noir

Photo wall
For all of the decorations, I decided to go with the DIY route. Armed with my Pinterest inspiration board and Etsy favorites, I came up with quite a list of decorations to make! Living so close to the vineyards of Northern California made it quite easy to get TONS of corks for free. TSA probably thought I was nuts though with all of these decorations and extra corks in my carry on suitcase! 

My favorite piece!


Instead of doing a traditional guest book for the party, we thought it would be fun (and fitting) to have everyone decorate a coaster! I ordered a bulk set of blank coasters through Etsy for people to decorate. We also had an empty wooden wine box for people to put the completed ones in. Armed with colorful sharpies and a custom push me-pull you stamp, our guests created some awesome masterpieces.  Can you tell which ones were designed by adults and which were by kids? :)

Some of the awesome coasters!

Custom Wine Glasses
I ordered custom wine glasses from The Tipsy Grape to commemorate the occasion and everyone got to take one home with them! The design was etched in so they hold up to the dishwasher. These are still our favorite wine glasses to use. :)

We had such a fun time celebrating with our friends and family that night and it was exciting to see all of the tiny touches come together for such a wonderful party! Thanks again to everyone who came and to my parents for hosting. And to one of my best friends, Jocelyn, for playing photographer and capturing all of the details.

1 year anniversary

Thursday, February 20, 2014

In the midst of preparing my taxes, I realized that my business turns a year old today! YAY!!!!! Thank you to everyone who's supported me over the last year -- especially Dave who gave me the big push I needed to get this business started!

I'm so excited to hit this milestone. It has definitely been work but it has been so nice being able to work from home, set my own hours, and have control over my own business. Given everything that happened last year as well it was nice to have something that was so incredible flexible and allowed me to be everywhere I needed to be while still working. 

We'll see what Year 2 has in store, but I have high hopes for it! Don't forget, if you know someone that is need of some marketing whether it's social media, reputation management, press releases, promotions, etc, please send them my way! :)

If you haven't done so yet, visit my website too at!

Tahoe Casual

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tahoe Casual
I've recently discovered Polyvore (I know, I'm late to the party on this one) but I really love it! You can "clip" and create all sorts of different collage boards!

I had some fun the other day putting this outfit together. I thought it was a perfect casual outfit for Tahoe. I may need to buy that sweater... I just love the duck!

What do you think of the collection? Any other items you'd pair with it?

Weekend Recap

Monday, February 17, 2014

It's Monday! (You can take that with excitement or dread depending on how you feel about Mondays...)

It was a fairly low-key weekend for us as we didn't have anyone from our ski lease come up to use the house for the holiday weekend since passes were blacked out. It was so quiet!  The weather is also still confused on whether its supposed to be winter or summer, with rain instead of snow at our house. So we decided to skip on skiing.

We never do very much for Valentine's Day each year since our anniversary is only a month later, but we did do a little something to celebrate.  I made Dave an awesome, decorated, handmade card, and he brought home some gorgeous pink tulips -- my favorite!

He also surprised me with my all time favorite dinner that he cooks -- Seared Ahi Tuna! It's marinated in orange juice, soy sauce and cilantro and he adds a macadamia nut crust. Delicious! If you're in Tahoe and need some fresh fish, we highly recommend Overland Meat & Seafood Co. They get fresh fish delivered every Friday straight from Hawaii. They also have a wide selection of organic, grass fed and free range meats.

We also opened a bottle out of our special case of wine from Ernest Hill Wines. This winery was a favorite of mine when we lived in Australia so we joined our wine club.  Before we moved back to the States, we picked up a full case of wine that we've been working our way through over the last 4 years on special occasions.  Unfortunately, the 2008 'Dam' Merlot (the only merlot I've found I actually like) had already turned bad. Damn! Dave thinks it may have been seal fail that caused it, but talk about a disappointment! We decided to open the 2009 of the same name to see if that was any better.  Luckily it wasn't a complete fail, but it was definitely past it's prime and needed quite a bit of time to open up -- like 24hrs... We ended up drinking a bottle from Safeway that was much better although rather ordinary.  Fingers crossed the last 3 bottles we have hold up one more month till our anniversary!

We also enjoyed the beautiful weather with a walk down to the beach (yes the beach in February!).  Other than that, it was quite the low-key weekend with plenty of time spent in front of the fire catching up on HBO and Netflix. So excited that House of Cards is back!

How did you spend your long holiday weekend? 

Thai Peanut Chicken Curry

Sunday, February 16, 2014

There are few things I love more than peanut sauce. Seriously. It goes great on pretty much everything -- noodles, rice, chicken, shrimp, veggies, etc! Up until now, I'd been relying on the peanut sauce in a bottle from the store.  Sure, it's easy and convenient, but it's also not the same as a truly fresh.

I was really intrigued when I came across this recipe at Closet Cooking for Thai Peanut Chicken Noodle Soup, and it had been in my list to try for a while. I shared it with Dave, and while he's not a huge fan of soups, he does love curries.  So with a little tweaking, we were ready to experiment with this dish and turn it into something of our own.

We have a winner! It turned out so tasty and delicious, definitely a success.  The best part was I was able to make it completely gluten free! I'm experimenting with eliminating gluten from my diet (more on that later), and this was really easy to adapt. We substituted noodles for a bed of rice, and switched out soy sauce for gluten-free soy sauce. Who knew there was wheat in normal soy sauce?! We also sped up the cooking time by buying a pre-sliced mushrooms and pre-roasted chicken at the store, shredding the breast meat, and adding it at the end.

Thai Peanut Chicken Curry
(Adapted from Closet Cooking: Thai Peanut Chicken Noodle Soup)

2 tbs olive oil
1/4 c. red curry paste
1 (14oz) can light coconut milk
2 c. chicken broth 
1 c. sweet potato, butternut squash, or yams, peeled and diced
1/3 c. peanut butter
1/4 c. lime juice
2 tbs gluten-free soy sauce
2 tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 pkg pre-sliced brown mushrooms
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 rotisserie chicken, breast meat shredded

2 c. brown basmati rice (prepared in rice cooker)

1/4 c. chopped peanuts
2 green onions, sliced
2 c. bean sprouts (optional)
1/4 c. cilantro, chopped (optional)
lime wedge (optional)

1) In a large pot, heat the red curry paste with olive oil over medium high heat until fragrant, about 1-2 mins.  Be careful, it will start to splatter.

2) Add the coconut milk, chicken broth, butternut squash, peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, brown sugar and turmeric to the pot. Bring the contents to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

3) When the butternut squash is tender to be pierced by a fork (about 10-15 mins depending on the size), add the sliced mushrooms to the pot.

5) Once the squash is completely cooked, add the sliced bell pepper.

4) Continue simmering until mixture has reduced and thickened to your preference.

5) Turn the heat to low and mix in the shredded chicken meat. Once the meat is hot, the dish is ready to serve!

6) Serve over a bed of brown basmati rice and garnish with green onions and chopped peanuts.

A few notes from the first time making this -- we only used 1 c. of chicken broth and let it reduce a bit too much so we weren't left with as much liquid at the end as I would of liked. As a result, we didn't add all of the chicken meat that we shredded.  I will definitely increase the amount of chicken broth next time.  The dish also had a really nice creamy flavor, but not as much heat as Dave would of liked. Next time I'll experiment with adding some sliced red chiles to the pot and have some for garnish as well.

Now we get to battle out who gets the left-over serving for lunch today! :)  Enjoy!

Rustic Guest Bedroom

Friday, February 14, 2014

Wow, it's already the middle of February! Time has been flying by this year! It's been a busy few weeks with a trip out to Colorado for some more skiing and a conference for Dave, lots of friends visiting on the weekends for some skiing, and my marketing business picking up!

Rustic Guest Bedroom

Rustic Guest Bedroom 
bedframe // duvet // curtains // lamp // burlap monogram // wall art

One of the main items on my to-do list for the year is to finally get our guest bedroom finished. We already have the bed frame, wall color, and rock lamp, so we only really need the bedding and some finishing touches to pull the room together. It's just been tough to get over that last hump and put the room together.

Let me know what you think of this design scheme in the comments below. Would love some input and suggestions! Hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend!

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