First Spring Weekend

Monday, March 24, 2014

We kicked off our weekend celebrating our anniversary on Friday. It was a very low key day since Dave and I decided we want to take a tropical vacation in the next few weeks/months instead of going all out on the actual day. But we still had a great time celebrating!

First up, we took our daily walk down to the meadow. Bondi has been obsessed with the mud lately and has been making a beeline right for it. She also decided to jump in the pond to swim after the ducks! Needless to say she's ended up having more baths in the last week than in the past year!

Since our first anniversary is considered the "paper" anniversary, Dave's mom gave us some Elephant Poo Poo Paper! Such a fun and clever present, and very fitting for the "paper" anniversary! Have you seen this stationary before? Can't wait to use it!

For dinner, we went to The Chart House. The view from the dining room is pretty spectacular and luckily we were seated just in time for sunset. Although I'm not a huge fan that they print their menus daily with their specials (big waste of paper!), it was really fun that they had our anniversary printed on the top of the menu! The service we excellent and the food was amazing. I highly recommend the New Wave Surf and Turf with short ribs, scallops and mashed potatoes -- some of my favorite foods!

When we got home we opened up one of our last bottles of Ernest Hill and ate the other half of the chili chocolate bar from Mexico. Note to self, keep chocolate in the freezer and not the fridge when you want to save it for a year. :)

The rest of the weekend was spent working in the yard, raking pine needles and clearing out bushes. We're getting ready to put in a small stream, waterfall, and pond in over the next few weeks (depending on the snowfall this week). I'll be sharing photos of that project soon!

How did you spend your weekend?

Our 5/1 Anniversary!

Friday, March 21, 2014

It's hard to believe that it has been a full year since we finally tied the knot! This is an extra special anniversary because we're celebrating 5 years together (along with our 1 year of marriage). All of our special anniversaries fall on the same day which make it very easy to remember -- 321.

Since we were married in Mexico and didn't have a wedding cake, I picked up some spicy Mexican chocolate that we ate part of as soon as we were back home in Tahoe after the wedding. I've been saving the rest of the bar for the past year and so we'll finish that off tomorrow instead of the top of a cake. We also have some special wine from Ernst Hill, one of my favorite vineyards in Australia, and I believe we are down to our last two bottles! We picked up a case on our 1 year anniversary and have finally worked our way through it, mostly saving them for special occasions.

To celebrate this occasion, here are some photos of us from each year we've been together!

Our first vacation! Western Australia -- April 2009
Yes, this was only a few weeks after we started dating!
Hanging with some local wildlife in Sydney -- April 2010 
Soaring! Celebrating our 2 year anniversary a few months late. October 2011
We're engaged! Our 3 year anniversary at Heavenly March 21, 2012

We're married on our 4th anniversary -- March 21, 2013

Here's to many more anniversaries as a push-me-pull-you couple. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Time to celebrate!

The "Jessica" Sales Cycle

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

So last night I had probably one of the funnier and yet more embarrassing "idiot" moments in a long time. I've been selling a bunch of my old DVDs through a local Facebook group called Upcycle. It's like Craigslist but on Facebook. Anyways, a girl came over last night around 8:45pm to pick up some of the movies, and this is what ended up happening...

Girl: I'll take 2 of the boxed TV series and 1 DVD. comes to $11 and she hands me $11...

Me: Oh, let me give you $5 change!

...I hand her $5 for no reason...

...she walks out the door...

...I realize my mistake and run after her...

Me: I'm so sorry but the total was actually $11 so I should not have given you change.  
Can I please have my $5 back?

...she says no problem, hands me the $5, and drives away...

...I come back inside and put the cash in my wallet when I realize that the $10 bill is missing...

...I frantically search everywhere, looking for the $10 bill, and I can't find it....anywhere...

Dave: Did you accidentally hand her the $10 back?

...he starts laughing hysterically...

Me: I can't remember! I have no idea but I guess so! OMG I gave her back her money!

...Yup, I apparently decided to give her her original $10 bill when I got my $5 back from her...

...Frantically begin texting her telling her my mistake...

...Thank goodness for nice people! She drove back and gave me the $10...

...So I gave her another DVD for free...

Cannot. believe. this. actually. happened.

As Dave described it:

The "Jessica" Sales Cycle
Stage 1 -- Exchange Goods for Money
Stage 2 -- Return half the funds as 'change' without reason
Stage 3 -- Attempt to remedy Stage 2, but instead return all funds to buyer
Stage 4 -- Fail

Tasty Tuesday -- Grilled Sesame Chicken and Rice Noodles

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Starting a new series today on the blog called Tasty Tuesdays! For this first one, it's all about Grilled Sesame Chicken and Rice Noodles.  And best of all, it was easy to make it gluten free!

I adapted the recipe from a very popular pin on Pinterest right now from The Pioneer Woman. I also had all of the ingredients (minus the fresh veggies) on hand which made it even easier! Hello $1.37 grocery bill!

I made two separate bowls worth of the sesame marinade -- one for the chicken, and a fresh one to add at the very end to the noodles.

I marinated the chicken for about 90mins in the fridge. I flipped and re-basted them about halfway through.

This was my first time cooking rice noodles. I LOVE noodles so it's been tough trying this whole gluten free thing, so I was excited to finally have noodles again that I could eat.

For the veggies, we chopped up zucchini, mushrooms, and yellow bell pepper and added them to a large sauté pan. I then drizzled a bit of sesame oil, gluten free soy sauce, and olive oil on top to help compliment the flavors of the marinade/dressing.

Fresh green onions always add a bright flavor to the finished dish!

To cook rice noodles, you bring a pot of water to a boil, then remove it from heat and add the noodles to soak. It was definitely a bit different for cooking and took a bit longer than it said on the box, but they eventually turned out great.

Dave grilled the chicken and basted them while they were cooking.  They turned out amazing! They almost had a sticky sweet flavor from the soy sauce and sugar in the marinade. I could not stop nibbling while waiting for the rest of the meal to come together!

Once the noodles and veggies were cooked, I added them all to the same pan. I then poured the fresh marinade/dressing to the pan and tossed everything to combine. We then plated it with the sliced grilled chicken on top and fresh green onions. Talk about YUM!

Grilled Sesame Chicken and Rice Noodles

Marinade/Dressing Ingredients
(make 2 marinades in separate bowls, one for the chicken and one to add to the noodles)
1/4 c. gluten free soy sauce
2 Tbs. sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs. rice vinegar
3 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp. hot chili oil
(2 Tbs. olive oil to the marinade for the chicken)

2-4 chicken breasts
1 pkg rice noodles
2-4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 zucchini, chopped
1 8oz pkg mushrooms, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. gluten free soy sauce
1 Tbs. olive oil

  1. Whisk together one batch of the marinade, including the 2 Tbs. olive oil, until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Put chicken breasts in a dish or bowl, and pour marinade over them. Flip to completely coat and cover the dish with saran rap. Marinate in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours, turning half way.
  3. Bring a pot of water to boil on the stove.
  4. Once marinaded, grill the chicken.  Baste with the marinade while cooking for extra flavor. Should take about 15-20mins depending on the thickness of your chicken.
  5. While the chicken is cooking, start cooking the veggies. Add all of the chopped veggies to a large sauté pan. Drizzle with 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil, 1 tsp. soy sauce, and 1 Tbs. olive oil. Cook over medium high heat until done.
  6. Once the pot of water is boiling, remove from heat and add the package of rice noodles. Soak in the hot water until soft, about 10 mins. Use a fork to help separate the noodles.
  7. When the noodles are done, drain well and mix with the veggies.
  8. Pour the 2nd batch of fresh dressing over the noodles and veggies, and mix to combine.
  9. Slice the grilled chicken on a cutting board.
  10. Serve the noodles and veggies in a deep dish and place the sliced chicken on top. Sprinkle with sliced green onions.

Tahoe Wedding Reception

Friday, March 14, 2014

After a brief 2 week hiatus from the blog, I'm back, and with a recap of our wedding reception! We went the non-traditional route and split our ceremony and reception into two separate events about 4 months apart. This allowed tons of friends and family to attend and also allowed us to continue the celebration!

Since we were married in Mexico, we wanted to stay with the Mexican theme to help tie the two events together. I used a ton of bright colors, had a Mexican themed menu and desserts, and even a piñata! It was a casual and fun afternoon at the beach with lots of family and friends!

Wedding Reception
July 27, 2013

Save the Dates: Designed by Jess, Printed by Yellow Dog Printing
Invitations: Designed by Jess, Printed by VistaPrint
Venue: Burnt Cedar Beach, Incline Village
Photographer: Bent Water Studio
Caterer: The Yum Truck
Guest Book: Mixbook
Koozies: Custom Ink
Lake Tahoe Map: League to Save Lake Tahoe
Flowers: Safeway
Decorations: Michaels
Dave's shirt: Tommy Bahama (similar)
Jess' dress: ModCloth
Jess' hair: Kathy at Salon Be

I designed the save the invite postcard invitations myself (I am in marketing haha) and printed them via Yellow Dog Printing (Save the Dates) and Vistaprint (Invites). They turned out great and everyone loved the designs!  This was the second Save the Date that we sent out since our first plan to Ecuador was cancelled due to a volcano eruption. Apparently we were just not meant to get married in Ecuador haha.

Dave's shirt Tommy Bahama (similar) // Jess' Dress ModCloth 
We had to bring the paddle boards out for some photos on the lake!

For the party, we went pretty casual with the decorations since it was a beach BBQ. All of the flowers were actually from Safeway which I pre-ordered, and had two amazing girlfriends put all of the arrangements together for the party. They turned out amazing! The colorful buckets were on sale at Michaels and we borrowed the red/white checkered table clothes from the caterer.

The beach BBQ area at the beach had a large grill and serving table with all of the picnic tables surrounding it on the grass.  It was a great setup to have the buffet right in the middle and everything only steps from the lake.  The "D" and "J" are wooden letters from Michaels and the piñata was a custom made push me pull you piñata put together by one of our friends.

For a thank you gift, everyone took home a custom beer koozie with our push me pull you logo! They turned out great! These were ordered from Custom Ink. We also had bubbles for all of the kids to play with at the party.

I put together a guest album with a mix of photos from our ceremony and throughout previous few years of dating. It was really easy to make and I ordered it via Mixbook. We also had an awesome vintage map of Lake Tahoe for everyone to sign the mat in the frame. This piece turned out awesome and is in our bedroom. If you're looking for a similar map, I ordered it through the League to Save Lake Tahoe.

The Food

We had a local group, The Yum Truck, cater our event. Although they have a food truck, for this party they left it at home and did a more traditional service. They cooked all of the meat on site on the large BBQ grills -- so impressive! Everything turned out amazing!

Chips, Salsa, and Guacamole
Zesty Lime Grilled Chicken with Pico de Gallo
Chipotle Grilled Tri-tip
Cliantro Lime Rice
Black Beans
Mexican Caesar Salad
Street Corn

For dessert, my mom and I took on the task of once again cooking everything. You would of thought we would have learned our lesson after the engagement party! Thanks to help from a few girlfriends and family friends, we finished making over 300 mini cupcakes and cookies! All of the serving trays were from the Dollar Store and the recipes are linked, so check them out!


Our favorite Tahoe family, Schue Love!

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