Sushi happens to be one of our favorite things to eat, however the thought of making it ourselves is extremely intimidating. While at a friend’s house for lunch a few weeks ago, our hostess set out a platter of  what she called “deconstructed sushi”, and we absolutely fell in love with it. It is easy to make and tastes delicious either as an appetizer or a main dish.

1. Begin by laying out sheets of seaweed on a big tray. 

2. Next add several heaping spoon fulls of sticky white rice and super thin sliced cucumbers.

3. Cut hearty pieces of imitation crab to put on top.

4. Top with avocado and carrot peelings, and voila you have created “deconstructed sushi”!

Sushi is never complete without dipping sauces, and although you can very easily use soy sauce with wasabi (if you like a little spice), here are two other sauces to try. The combination of the two is quite heavenly.

  • Eel sauce: make by combining corn syrup, brown sugar, and soy sauce to taste.
  • Spicy mayo: make by mixing mayonnaise with sriracha sauce to your degree of spice.
“Deconstructed sushi” makes for a great meal, but if you are throwing a dinner party or a nice Shabbat lunch on Saturday here are some delicious recipes to try to complete your non-traditional Asian inspired meal:

Edamame Guacamole Appetizer

1. Shred edamame to pieces in a food processor. 

2. Add avocado, lime juice, cilantro, white onion, spicy peppers cut up small, and course salt and pepper.

3. Serve with corn chips and / or pita chips and enjoy!

Asian Inspired Green Salad

1. Cut up romaine lettuce and add mandarin oranges, scallions, sliced almonds, and shelled edamame.

2. Top with a light dressing: to make, start with a rice vinegar base and mix in orange juice, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and ginger powder.

Teriyaki Salmon

1. A classic choice for a main dish. We use Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki as our marinade. It is our favorite!

2. Bake at 350 for 35 – 45 minutes and serve.


A huge shout out goes to our friend ChayaLeah for inspiring us to make an entire meal based on her recipe for “deconstructed sushi”. It was so good, we can’t wait to have a reason to make it again.
You may remember as a wedding gift, Tami gave Scott and Lauren a scrapbook full of memories from their planning process and the events that took place before their wedding. In our previous post, Scrapbook Your Wedding, you can see the first half of the scrapbook including: the day they got engaged and the party that followed, asking their closest friends and family to be a part of their wedding party, and yet another event to celebrate their engagement. 

Tami has been working to complete this gift, and in honor of their one year anniversary (which was this week) here is a sneak peek into the second half of their scrapbook. More yet to come …

Scott and Lauren posed for professional photos to send out as their Save the Date. Although these photos make a statement all on their own, Tami added black velvet and patterned scrapbook paper to complete each page.

They will always remember their experiences selecting a perfect venue for their big day, sampling salads and main dishes to serve at their Wedding Reception, and the thought and planning that went into their decor.

Lauren chose to have All White Desserts at their wedding, and Tami found it fitting to have all white details on these pages showing the best day ever: dessert tasting day to choose the right cake flavors and special treats!

A Bridal Shower is a special day to remember. With these pages in their scrapbook, Lauren will have no trouble remembering what the invitation looked like, who was in attendance, the games that we all played, and her and Scott’s reactions as they opened their gifts.

This concludes our theme for the week of first anniversaries. We hope you enjoyed our special Friday bonus post and are planning something fun or creative for the upcoming weekend!


Here on Side by Side Design we are continuing with our week’s theme of first anniversaries and everybody knows what that means … paper? Yes, paper is the traditional material for a husband to give to his wife and vice versa on their first anniversary. This idea lends itself to many different creative possibilities of making homemade gifts and / or giving store bought paper products from the heart.

When Lauren set out to plan a gift for Scott, she decided to “DIH” (Do It Herself). She made a gift based on twelve things that they should always share as a married couple in honor of the twelve months they have shared together so far; memories of their wedding day, their last name, a thoughtful poem, love for each other, good luck, a beautiful home, the drive for success, happiness and laughter, good health, a wonderful family, tons of kisses, and a sweet card. Each value or cherished memory was presented on its own small card. She included small tokens of love (also made out of paper) to incorporate a visual on each card; a favorite wedding picture, an origami heart, a lottery ticket, a dollar bill, a band aid, and even a family tree that begins with just them two.

 Lauren purchased a tie clip for her husband which she used as the “paper clip” to hold the twelve values together. All of the cards were made to fit perfectly in the small Tiffany’s box it came in. This gift is functional, classic, and she loves the fact that it will be worn close to his heart.

Presentation is key. Lauren wrapped Scott’s gift beautifully using a small scrap of silver wrapping paper, a white satin ribbon, and a homemade paper flower to continue with the paper theme. 
By the way … Scott did a great job too. He and Lauren had previously discussed their plans for the night of their actual anniversary and what they would do for dinner. They engaged in a normal every day conversation about whether or not they should have chicken for dinner even though they hadn’t taken it out of the freezer that morning. It was concluded that Scott would just pick up something to eat from one of their normal spots. However, when Lauren arrived home from work, Scott had prepared some sweet surprises for his wife. You really can’t go wrong with setting the table up nice, a bottle of wine, sushi from Sugar Fish (a restaurant in Brentwood they have been wanting to try), beautiful white orchids, and paper gifts waiting for you on your anniversary night. Can you believe the sushi even came perfectly presented in this “paper” box and Scott even thought to put out paper plates for them to eat from?

Scott made one more stop on his way home. Vanilla Bake Shop in Santa Monica is where their wedding treats had come from (seen on our previous post: All White Desserts). He picked up mini cupcakes and cake pops which they enjoyed while watching their wedding video on Monday night.

For those of you newlyweds out there preparing to celebrate your paper anniversary, we hope this gives some fresh ideas of how to incorporate the theme. For those of you who have already been through a first anniversary, tell us how you celebrated and what creative paper gift ideas you came up with.

Today is Scott and Lauren’s first anniversary. To celebrate they decided to spend last night reminiscing on their wedding day. Since they hadn’t been back to the Ritz Carlton Marina Del Rey since last year, they returned to eat dinner and walk around at the place where they said “I do”. Here are the links to their Wedding Ceremony and Wedding Reception for you to reminisce as well. In honor of Scott and Lauren’s first anniversary, please enjoy this week’s anniversary related posts. 

Lauren and Scott’s favorite photos from their wedding day (taken by Mi Belle Inc.) are the series taken with the grand piano at their venue (seen on our previous post: New Years Cards). They thought it would be fun to pay tribute to those photos by posing for some shots in the same location before heading to dinner. They also spent a little time walking around the hotel and reminding themselves of the great day they can’t believe was a year ago.
After letting the waiter know that it was their anniversary and they had been married there, he promptly returned to the table with two glasses of champagne.  
If you haven’t been to Jer-ne, the restaurant at the Ritz Carlton, you should definitely put it on your list of places to go. 
Scott and Lauren enjoyed spending the evening with wonderful food and conversation.
They highly recommend everything they ate; heirloom tomato and burrata salad, black cod with truffle sauce, and peppercorn steak. It was all amazing. 
Their waiter insisted upon having dessert. He was very thoughtful in surprising them with this piece of delicious anniversary cake.  

With their immaculate landscaping and enormous formal ballroom, the Ritz Carlton closest to Scott and Lauren’s home proved to be the perfect place for them to get married. It was also the best place for them to spend time together for their anniversary and will always be a place to return and reminisce. Who knows they might just go back there every year.

For those of you newlyweds getting ready to spend your first anniversary, having dinner at your wedding venue is special or even maybe spend the night, drink a glass of champagne, and end with listening to your wedding songs.

May this next year in your lives be filled with happiness and may it be just as special as your first year together. Happy Anniversary to Scott and Lauren (from your sister, Tami)!


The Fourth of July is one of our favorite days. How can you not love a day where instead of going to work you spend time with family and friends, eating BBQ hamburgers and hot dogs, laying out by the pool, or relaxing at the beach? You are having so much fun that you inevitably rush at the last minute to find the perfect place to enjoy the most looked forward to part of the day: the fireworks show.

Our earliest memories of celebrating Independence Day go back to the house we lived in when we were young. For some reason, the best window in the house from which to watch the fireworks show was upstairs in our parents’ bathroom right next to their bathtub. So we would all jump in the tub (no water), sit together, and watch in awe as each firework hit the sky (Although as we are writing this right now, we are wondering why we didn’t just go outside to watch?). As we grew, we began spending our summers at sleep away camp in Malibu, California. Every summer for eight years we spent the Fourth of July at camp surrounded by our friends all wearing red, white, and blue. It was so much fun, but for eight years we did not see a single firework.

Our love for the Fourth of July and especially fireworks (with a little help from Pinterest) has inspired us to make this delicious and festive treat. It’s not too late to make a batch of your own. Just follow these six easy steps:

1. Gather all necessary ingredients: 3 tablespoons of butter or margarine, 1 package of regular marshmallows, 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal, and an assortment of red, white, and blue toppings.

 2. Melt butter or margarine and marshmallows in a large saucepan over low heat. Stir until completely melted and then remove from heat.

3. Add Rice Krispies cereal to the mixture and stir until well coated. We also added red sprinkles at this time to give a little color.

4. Use a spatula to press the mixture into a glass dish coated with cooking spray.

 5. This is where it gets fun! We found a Fourth of July inspired pin on Pinterest for a sprinkle and Pop Rocks mix to put on top of a batch of cupcakes (We used sour strawberry and blue raspberry Pop Rocks, red and white sprinkles, and some blue and white sprinkle stars we had laying around the house). We decided to switch things up a bit and top our Rice Krispie treats with the sprinkle mixture as Rice Krispies cereal tend to already “pop” in your mouth. Seriously though, when was the last time you had Pop Rocks? We are pretty sure we created the treat version of a firework. You don’t get more festive than that.

6. After adding the toppings to your Rice Krispie treats, let cool and serve with a cold glass of milk.

Happy Fourth of July to all our readers and enjoy the fireworks tonight!