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Category: Discussion


Our Boulder vacation

As of today I’ve started the preparations for my brother-in-law’s wedding cake. I’m currently elbow-deep in 4 quarts of homemade strawberry jam. I’ll be taking photos of the process like last time and I’ll show you the results next week.

So this week I thought I’d recap our recent trip to Boulder, CO. Looking back, I realize we didn’t take that many pictures, but I assure you were were busy and entertained the entire time.

First off, I’ve gotta show you this awesome rental property we found on that was walking distance from downtown Boulder. It was a renovated garage separate from the main house on a residential property. We fell in love with the super-modern design and the full kitchen and bath.

Rental house bed

There was a huge flat-screen TV with Netflix and Pandora radio, all basic cooking equipment, and an awesome rain shower.

Rental house kitchen

We loved having this private cottage to ourselves all week, and believe it or not, it was way cheaper than any of the hotels in the area. We stayed a whole week for less than $500! The owners, Kim and Asa, have another rental property attached to their home also, and they were very helpful in making sure we had everything we needed while simultaneously staying out of our hair.

Rental house bathroom

We’re totally sold on this type of sleep accommodation while traveling now. We’ll definitely look for something like this again the next time we venture out. If you’re ever in Boulder and need a place to stay, check out the Mapleton House, you won’t regret it!

Anyway, every day we would have breakfast at the rental (there was a Whole Foods walking distance from it that we used to stock up on breakfast foods) and then chill for a while before heading into town for the rest of the day. It was at least a mile to the busy downtown area, but the walk was flat and beautifully scenic…

Me posing along PearlJeff posing along Pearl

Everywhere you looked there were mountains and greenery. The air had a lovely crisp smell like the mineral smell of melted ice. The air is much dryer than we were used to being that we both grew up in Georgia humidity, so we had problems with feeling dry and itchy the whole time, but it’s probably something we’d adjust to if we were there longer.

Boulder is an extremely active city. There are few cars around, but tons of bicycles and pedestrians. One of the most fun things we did was to rent bikes to ride along the Boulder Creek Path that runs horizontally through Boulder for miles.

Full Cycle bike rentals and shop

We probably rode for 6 or so miles along the path, stopping here and there to take in the scenery.

Bridge beside Boulder Creek Path

Creek along Boulder Creek Path

Stacked rocks in creek

The Boulder Creek Path

Tumbling waters beside Boulder Creek Path

I really loved the emphasis on nature in Boulder. There are so many opportunities to enjoy your natural surroundings, even within the city limits. It’s impossible not to stumble upon beautiful views almost everywhere you go.

Some of the best views though, are from atop the mountains. Jeff has a friend from college that we met up with early in the week, and her father was nice enough to drive us around Boulder and up into the mountains. I’m so grateful that he was able to do that for us because we intended to hike those mountains later in the week but never got around to it because we were too exhausted from all the walking and biking we did! If he hadn’t driven us up there we just would have missed it entirely.

View from the mountains

I still wish we got to do some hiking, but I’m glad we got this view anyway.

Us on the mountaintop

If there’s one thing Boulder has a lot of, it’s nature, but the second place finisher would definitely be breweries! Tomorrow I’ll show you some of the local Boulder breweries we toured and the copious amounts of beer that were consumed!

Do you prefer more nature or more city attractions on vacations?


I’m not dead

I’m sure you didn’t think I was dead, but I’ve been absent from the blog world for over a month now, barely even reading or commenting on other blogs because I’ve been so busy!!!

Here’s a little of what’s been sucking away at my time…

So….remember how I said I was writing a book? Yeah, well, every deadline I have set for this project has been set back time and time again because apparently I am a terrible judge of how long anything is going to take to complete.

Crunchy roasted popcorn edamame

I have been devoting every waking thought and every hour of every day to getting this thing done and I’m finally close to the end of this madness. Guys, writing a book is hard. I don’t know why I thought it would be a breeze, but I definitely have a new respect for authors of all kinds. Any romantic thoughts I used to have of an author sitting at a big oak desk in front of a rusty typewriter casually sipping on a cup of tea as the words just effortlessly flow onto the page have been dashed. It’s work, ya’ll.

Somewhat more enjoyable though, was planning for a vacation!  Jeff and I just got back from a week in Boulder, CO a few days ago…

Boulder scenery on the mountain

We chose Boulder because we have some friends out there that we haven’t seen in a while, and because many people have told us that we’d enjoy it there. We both needed a vacation badly and we definitely had a great time. I’ll tell you all about it in another post though.

And now, for the next week or so, this will be my future…

Stuff for Caitlin's cake

I’m baking a wedding cake for Jeff’s youngest brother; Bryan, and his fiance, Caitlin. I’ve spent the last few days procuring the items I’ll need to make it, all I have left to buy are the fresh ingredients, such as eggs and milk, which I’ll get this weekend.

I’m trying to recreate this cake…

Caitlin's cake

The only difference will be the topper. Rather than a fondant rose, she’s providing a silver “T” monogram which I’ll frame with a few leftover roses or lilies. It’s gonna take all week to make. I’ll definitely share the process with you guys like I did last time too.

So that’s what’s been keeping me away. This month is going to be extremely busy with putting the cake together and then trying my hardest to finish the book, but I’m going to try to be more present on the blog if I can. I miss you guys!

So what have you been up to?


Cakes and Ale Anniversary

Tuesday marked 2 years of marriage for Jeff and I. I’m gonna avoid all the mushy stuff and just tell you about the amazing dinner we had at Cakes and Ale, a local Decatur restaurant we’ve been meaning to try for a long time.

Cakes and Ale menu

Jeff at Cakes and Ale

They claimed to be pretty booked, so we had to come in early at 6:30 to grab seats before the rush. We figured we could just grab a few cocktails and take it slow.

I started with a truly delicious whiskey cocktail with flavors of orange and honey. Not too sweet and just boozy enough. Jeff went with a Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, one of our favorites and one that we just tried to clone recently with our 4th ever home brew!

Orange and honey cocktail

Ok so, I have stated many times throughout my life that the only seafood I don’t like is the oyster. BUT, while we were in Seattle we were served a plate of Kumamoto oysters that we weren’t expecting during an omakase sushi dinner and loved them. Cakes and Ale had three types of oysters that you could order individually for a little snack, including the Kumamoto, so we asked for 2 to see if we still enjoyed them.

Kumamoto oyster with shallot mingonette

These teensy little beauties nestled in their curly-lipped shells were served with a lightly acidic shallot mignonette. They were just as tasty as I remembered. Apparently, I just like Washington oysters.

First appetizer was the arancini with citrus and fennel pollen. These little balls of creamy risotto were perfectly fried to a light golden crispness and were barely kissed with the aromatic fennel pollen that was more of an aroma than a flavor.

Arancini with citrus and fennel pollen

Next was the tatsoi (asian spinach) salad with shaved carrot and radish, citrus avocado puree, fresh cilantro, and peanuts. So refreshing! I think the farmer’s market has a type of asian spinach so I might try to recreate this one at home. The cilantro really made it.

Tatsoi salad with cilantro and peanuts

Then we moved on to the heavier stuff. First was the gnocchi verde with rabbit ragu. Wow guys…incredible. Perfectly pillowy gnocchi and the most intense and luscious ragu ever. Rabbit reminds me of the flavor of slow roasted pork, very soft and sweet.

Gnocchi verde with rabbit ragu

We decided to split the ribeye with crispy fennel and horseradish cream for our entree. It takes nearly an hour to prepare, so we ordered it pretty early in the evening and tried to take it slow so there wouldn’t be too much down time waiting for it.

Ribeye with crispy fennel and horseradish cream

This thing was huge! Very little fat and perfectly salted and crusty on the outside with a meltingly soft center. The crispy fennel reminded me of fried okra, and the horseradish cream wasn’t too spicy and complemented everything on the plate. Well worth the wait.

We both ordered another round of cocktails before getting down to dessert. This was the Spring Fever, with a bitter lemon soda that served as a nice palate cleanser.

Me at Cakes and Ale

I chose dessert. We had a meyer lemon tart with an almond crust and almond praline, topped with meringue and resting on a bit of raspberry puree.

Ya’ll know I love lemon desserts, right? This one was beyond tart to the point of being downright sour, but I loved it that way. Jeff kept making the sour lemon face with every bite though, and eventually relinquished the last few bites to me. Score.

Meyer lemon tart with meringue

Cakes and Ale was outstanding. We’ve been avoiding it because it’s, well…expensive. And every time I’ve checked their ever-changing menu online I haven’t been too excited about the offerings. I’m really glad we just went for it because everything was beyond my expectations and the staff was super-friendly and helpful. They also have a bakery and coffee shop next door that we’ll have to hit up for breakfast some time.

Well that was dinner. Now, presents! Well, one present. I assumed that we weren’t exchanging gifts this year because we’re going on vacation soon (more on that later,) so I didn’t get Jeff anything. He, however, schemed to get me a little something that I’m very excited about. Check it out!

stock lens taken with 50mm lens

That’s the stock lens that came with the Canon Rebel camera Jeff got me for Christmas. But I took the photo with my new “Nifty Fifty” 50mm/f 1.8 lens!

I tend to gravitate towards these super wide aperture shots (only a small part is in focus and the rest is fuzzy) and this lens is awesome at making those shots happen easily. It’s fixed focal though, meaning you can’t zoom but rather have to physically move yourself closer or farther from your subject. It’s taking some getting used to, but it’s not as hard as I thought it would be.

What is your significant other’s best quality?

What’s a restaurant you’ve been meaning to try for a long time?