Past Trips: Reflecting on Yosemite

National Parks have become an obsession of mine, after my visit to Yosemite in August 2018 with Chris’ family (my fiancé). Driving into Yosemite Valley is something out of a dream, with pictures only doing partial justice. Since this was our first trip and the massive size of Yosemite would take years to explore, we stuck to the pretty basic trails. Even the easy hikes open up to vistas and staggering waterfalls. However, my favorite part was our first morning wandering around the meadows of Yosemite Valley. We saw two huge bucks grazing in the early morning sunshine. You felt tiny under the granite giants surrounding you, especially when that shadow covering someones face was not a cloud but a tower of rock.

All of this reminiscing is hard when I am unable to hop in my car and head that way. So as a way to learn more about Yosemite from afar, Chris and I have watched some amazing documentaries. Yosemite has attracted thrill seekers since it was deemed a National Park, and naturally rock climbing has become a cultural cornerstone. Free Solo is a documentary following Alex Honnold on his journey to climb El Capitan…without any equipment. It is heart racing and beautiful, showcasing some of the most unbelievable angles of the park. If you would like to better understand the ecosystem of Yosemite, I recommend America’s National Parks: Yosemite. What I found most interesting about this documentary is how it discussed changing climates effects on different populations of wildlife. Both are available on the National Geographic section of Disney+.

This is the best time to find a National Park you would like to visit after quarantine, and study up on trails, animals, wildflower seasons, and of course the history (Yosemite for example, has a rich Native American history). I would obviously recommend Yosemite, but some others on my list are Big Bend, Zion, and Yellowstone.

Shelf Design: Getting Started


 Shelves have become a way for us to display our collections from our travels, family heirlooms, books, and our latest finds. It is also an affordable way to spruce up a room, since you have many of these items stored away. Dust them off and start telling a story!

It is hard to nail down the perfect recipe for shelves, but here are easy ways to start building them up: a candle with a tray underneath, jars and pots, favorite photos, small art or post cards, coffee table and chapter books.

  I tend to be drawn to whimsical colors and accessories paired with neutrals. I try to pull colors from my photographs or paintings. A neutral base gives you the chance to change up the design and feel as often as you would like. Overall, I like my shelf to be inviting and not so serious. 

 Almost all of my items have been collected over the years (I asked my mom for that pink pot when I was 10 years old), so I am adding links to similar items. I have also added some items that I have my eyes on.

My next shelf post will discuss scale and how this creates a proportioned and uncluttered design.

Links:

Marble box: https://www.cb2.com/small-white-marble-box/s657267

Book: http://The Year of Cozy: 125 Recipes, Crafts, and Other Homemade Adventures: Adarme, Adrianna: 9781623365103: Amazon.com: Books

Glass Cloche: https://www.amazon.com/Plymor-Brand-Display-Cloche-Interior/dp/B006XIQQ1U?ref_=fsclp_pl_dp_7

Planter: https://www.afloral.com/products/mauve-pink-kendall-ceramic-floral-pot-6-75?gclid=Cj0KCQjw17n1BRDEARIsAFDHFezpXqoDNjcb56CvQw-P3cyO1yaijyx0fHfG1cwOeukXaiItKFbHiYIaArmfEALw_wcB

Frame: https://www2.hm.com/en_us/productpage.0498629001.html?ef_id=Cj0KCQjw17n1BRDEARIsAFDHFewoymbiH53CtNxobYYRDyLBkEMvt5n-Hst2RLeFCcsBbi0_9PEANo4aArBcEALw_wcB:G:s&s_kwcid=AL!860!3!340452652249!!!g!669345027836!&gclid=Cj0KCQjw17n1BRDEARIsAFDHFewoymbiH53CtNxobYYRDyLBkEMvt5n-Hst2RLeFCcsBbi0_9PEANo4aArBcEALw_wcB

Candle: https://us.panierdessens.com/en/scented-candles/orange-blossom-scented-candle.html

Lemon Cream Cheese Pound Cake

The quarantine has inspired many of us to fill our time with new and old hobbies. Learning how to bake has been a goal of mine, and I even got an electric mixer for Christmas. I am thankful that all of this extra time gave me the push I needed to start experimenting.

My fiancé’s parents have a huge Meyer lemon tree in their backyard. Every Spring they get hundreds of lemons, and I hated seeing them go to waste. I immediately thought to myself that I need to conquer making a cake! I got started by searching up recipes on Pinterest. I quickly found one that included all of the ingredients that I had in my fridge.

This cake is dense in texture, but light with the bright flavor of the lemon. Serve with a nice warm tea or glass of ice cold milk for a comforting afternoon dessert.

The Recipe:

For the cake:

-2 Meyer lemons, zest from both, juice from 1 (2 tbsp)

-1.5 tbsp vanilla extract

-8 oz. cream cheese, room temp

-2.5 sticks of unsalted butter (1.5 cups), room temp

-6 large eggs, room temp

-3 cups of granulated sugar

-3 cups of all-purpose flour

For the icing:

-1/2 cup of milk

-1/2 cup of granulated sugar

-1/2 cup of butter

-1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 °F
  2. Coat two small loaf pans with vegetable shortening and sugar.
  3. Put your butter, cream cheese and eggs out 30 minutes before you start cooking. If they are still cold, it is very hard to mix.
  4. Mix your cream cheese and butter together with a hand mixer until smooth.
  5. Add sugar to mix and beat with mixer, about 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add eggs 1 at a time, beat between each one.
  7. Add flour mixture, half a cup at a time and combine.
  8. Add lemon juice (around 2 tbsp), 3/4 of the lemon zest, vanilla extract, combine.
  9. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  10. Bake for 60-70 minutes, check at 60 minutes by putting a butter knife in the center. If it comes out clean it is ready to go.
  11. Let cool for 15-20 minutes.

For the icing:

  1. Put a small mixing bowl in a metal cake pan surrounded by ice water.
  2. Add butter, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract to a small sauce pan over medium heat. Mix frequently.
  3. Bring to a boil for 90 seconds.
  4. Pour the mixture into the mixing bowl and beat until silky.
  5. Pour over your cooled cakes and spread lightly.
  6. Sprinkle remaining lemon zest.

Enjoy!