Cookie Day Preparations

Every year, a couple girlfriends and myself get together for a cookie day. It’s a glorious day filled with champagne, cookie making/baking/decorating and apron wearing. When all the cookies are completed, we do a little exchange and leave with a great variety of cookies to take home and share with family and other friends. These make great gifts, alongside a mug and yummy coffee or hot cocoa mix. In order to get the most out of this year’s cookie day, we have all decided that making our dough ahead of time would be most efficient. Now, we will have ample time to decorate our sugar cookies and sip champagne. Tonight, I’m whipping up some Lemon Pecan Shortbread, and I’m using this recipe.

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I’ll be sure to post some pics of the finished cookies. But until then, please share…in the spirit of the holiday, what are you baking??

xo

Thanksgiving Sure Was a Great Day

We cooked, ate, drank, watched football, movies and basically had a really amazing day. Here are some snapshots from the day.

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The humble beginning of crockpot cranberry apple butter. It smells and tastes like Christmas. Try it…found the recipe here.

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I made this in the morning, and it was so easy and so yummy. I found the recipe here.

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Cheeeeeeeese, and other yummy things.

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Brussel sprouts. So gorgeous, right?

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Just making homemade dinner rolls, NBD.

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The dinner rolls came out beautifully.

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Lobstah!

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Crab!

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Dodger dog, enjoying the holiday.

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Pumpkin cheesecake, homemade whipped cream (thanks, Mel!) and a little drizzle of caramel sauce. SO.GOOD. I found the recipe here.

Not only was dinner a total success, but we were able to FaceTime with my mom and whole family back home in the Bay Area, and I had a nice chat with my dad that evening. Thanksgiving was such a great day.

And just like that, we switch gears from Thanksgiving to full on Christmas mode.

Have a great evening!
xo

Thanksgiving Feast: A Little Different, Just Like Us

This is the 5th thanksgiving in our home. Year number 1 was pretty traditional, and we were so happy to host my in-laws and our dear friend, Mel. Year number 2 was just us and Mel (aka, one of our most favorite people in the world), and we deep fried a turkey. Year number 3 was just the three of us again, and we deep fried Cornish game hens, along with anything/everything that seemed like a good idea. The year number 4 guest list remained unchanged, but we decided to mix things up a bit and have a seafood thanksgiving feast. This made total sense to us since I’m a pescetarian and my husband  prefers seafood over meat. We went all out–lobster, crab, king crab legs, Mel’s homemade clam chowder, lobster brie dip, and the list goes on, and on, and on. We went a little crazy and could barely dig into the main entree because we overdid it with appetizers and clam chowder (in bread bowls, I know, so stupid). This year, year number 5, we have decided to take a step back. Last year we made so many rookie mistakes, so we are all committed to do this seafood thanksgiving feast right. Here’s what our menu looks like.

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one. Cheese Plate // two. Kale, Wild Rice, Pomegranate Salad with Walnuts & Feta // three. Potatoes Au Gratin with Gruyere // four. Brussel Sprouts with Panko Bread Crumbs (we are leaving out pomegranates) // five. Dinner Rolls ~ all images are from my board on Pinterest.com

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six. Crab // seven. Lobster // eight. Pumpkin Cheesecake ~ Photos from my board on Pinterest.com, except the crab photo, courtesy of Mel

Please know that a big part of our thanksgiving celebration is being ridiculously casual, so that means that we will all don pajama pants, and combined with the seafood, I realize that our thanksgiving may not look like yours. It may be a little different, but the sentiment is the same.

I hope that you, your family and friends have a wonderful thanksgiving, and that you make some great memories.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!
xo

Thankful for Skype

Tis the season to be thankful, and today, I’m thankful for Skype because it allowed my husband and I to have a wonderful visit with family half way around the world. My brother-in-law and his wife have embarked upon the adventure of a lifetime, a trip around the world. They have been traveling for 379 days and are currently in South Africa, where they have encountered beautiful locals and landscape. We had a fantastic time catching up and listening to stories of their travels, learning about the history of places they have visited and getting a crash course in some interesting language tidbits–street lights are called robots in South Africa. Who knew?! Silliness aside, they are truly making the most of this life. My husband and I talk about how incredibly brave we think they are, for leaving the life they know behind to travel to places that many would hesitate to visit, and to be okay with starting over again when this is all done. They have seen gorgeous places, but most importantly, they have not stayed at 4 star hotels but rather participated in WWOOF (learn more here) and have really immersed themselves in the culture of the places they are visiting. They are seeing the world from a different point of view and really understanding what it means to be grateful. Their stories inspire me and although we miss them, we are thankful for Skype to reunite us. Please read up on their travels at Our First World Trip. Understandably, this sort of travel may not be for everyone (myself included) but a friend once told me that there is a job for everyone, so today, my job is to spread the word about the amazing things that Sal & Maria are doing.

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Maria & Sal on their wedding day

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Maria & Sal after 379 days of travel

 What are you thankful for today?

xo

Life in Photos: Silver Lining

Sadly, I was in bed sick all weekend long, so I have no adventures to report and no fun photos to share. My weekend, and Monday for that matter, consisted of watching TV, sleeping, taking ibuprofen, and drinking tea. However, because of 4 Simple Goals (more on that here), I have been taking more photos in general, so I flipped through my camera roll and lo and behold, I do have things to share!

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4 Simple Goals: Finish projects // Tray table progress

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4 Simple Goals: Take more photos // Denim on Denim

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Found this on Pinterest and loved the positive vibe.

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4 Simple Goals: Take more photos // Admiring this gorgeous little bowl that a friend brought me back from Spain.

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I received these new boots in the mail from Shoedazzle. I have worn them twice already and am totally in love.

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4 Simple Goals: Wear more color // Navy may be a neutral, but green is definitely color.

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This was my weekend in a nutshell, lemon ginger tea and more lemon ginger tea.

To put a positive spin on my boring weekend, I am feeling much better, and I was able to get some on-line Christmas shopping done yesterday. I don’t know about you, but I am such a big procrastinator. I always have great ideas and multiple lists, but I take forever to pull the trigger. Once the holiday season begins, I get swept up in festivities, and then I’m rushing around like a mad woman. Sometimes stuff happens and it all shakes out just fine.

Also, I’m loving 4 Simple Goals. Like, I am enjoying it so much that I have thought about doing this quarterly. Are you participating in 4 Simple Goals? How are you doing with it?

xo

Life in Photos: Weekend Shots

We had another great weekend filled with food and drinks, snow and friends…not too shabby.

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What a gorgeous Saturday morning!

Snow Lake hike -- more on that tomorrow.

Snow Lake hike — more on that tomorrow.

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All sacked out after a snowy hike.

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How cute is this wine tap?

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We loved the antlers and vintage pics at North Bend Grill.

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A roaring fire makes for a cozy night at home.

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Sunday funday @ Laredos Grill = football, friends, food and this awesome figurine.

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Watching football makes a girl thirsty…for everything apparently (but especially the habanero bloody mary according to the photo).

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I had a mean craving for chocolate chip cookies this weekend. This moment was pure bliss.

Happy Monday and have a great week!
xo

Life in Photos: There’s Something About Fall

The air crisper and the colors are richer. Fall is such a gorgeous time of year, and it is in full swing here. We celebrated Halloween this weekend, I have added some fall decorations to the house, I have put comfort food on the weekly dinner menu, and I have a constant craving for hot spiced cider. Here’s what we’ve been up to…

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A little fall décor in the house.

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A little fall décor outside the house. Fun fact: This is my Christmas wreath, but I added some of the faux flowers from my Halloween decorations and now, it’s totally fit for fall.

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Homemade veggie lasagna…mmmmmm.

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4 Simple Goals…wearing color!

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Caramel apples courtesy of our amazing friend Mel. Fun fact: She makes these every year for Halloween and they are out of this world! Thanks Mel!

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Another Fantasy Football win! Unfortunately, this win meant my hubby’s loss. Sorry love!

We are halfway there!
Happy Wednesday!

xo

Life in Photos: LA Family Visit

We took a spontaneous trip down to Los Angeles to visit family last weekend and it was fantastic. We left on Friday and came home on Tuesday night, so we had some good quality time there. We spent a ton of time with our ridiculously cute, smart and funny 3 year old nephew. Our trips home used to be about going out, seeing friends, and visiting our old favorite places, but this trip was 100% about family. I am lucky to have such wonderful in-laws because although we live far away, when we get together, we pick up where we left off and enjoy being all together.

Consider yourself warned…I took a lot of photos of my nephew and apparently, nothing else.

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He was showing me how he watches Power Rangers through Netflix while riding in the car…smarty pants.

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Mu hubby, his brother and I got to enjoy some sunshine and a little coffee on Sunday morning…what a gorgeous day.

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This kid and his Power Rangers! What do we watch while drinking milk? Why, watch Power Rangers, of course!

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After a long day at school, we decided to wind down with a little Toy Story dominoes.

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We do miss the deliciousness that is In-N-Out…so this happened.

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We got to watch soccer practice, and this kid couldn’t be happier about having an audience.

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What’s play time without a selfie, right?

It was tough to leave, but with such great photos and memories, I can look back anytime I want and relive the love.

Happy Friday!
xo

Life in Photos: Weekend Fun

It’s a beautiful, sunny fall day here in the PNW. On this busy Wednesday, I wanted to take a moment to look back on what a lovely weekend I had. It’s important to remember the positive things when struggling with a stressful day.

I did a little post workday retail therapy on Friday and found these beauties for $15!

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I love you, Target!

I started a new book this weekend, and it is a great read so far. This was recommended by a friend,  and I found it at a thrift store…win!

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Started it on Friday night and I’m almost done.

Amidst the Halloween shopping, we needed a little pick me up.

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Lattes and caramel wafers on my bestie date.

Some friends had an extra ticket to the WHL Silvertips game, so we picked up an extra ticket on-line and enjoyed some hockey on Saturday night. It was so fast-paced, and the crowd was awesome. We will definitely be going to some more hockey games.

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My first hockey game. Go Silvertips!

Sunday morning was devoted to a friend’s birthday celebration, so we made the (20 minute) journey into Seattle for a delicious brunch, hot coffee, and a cocktail (or two, or three).

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Sunday morning brunch view. We got to celebrate a very dear friend, so fun!

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Cocktails at brunch…grapefruity goodness.

I hope you have fond weekend memories too. We’re halfway there, Happy Wednesday!

xo

Life in Photos: Finally Friday

The weekend is so close, I can taste it. I have a day date with one of my most favorite people in the world tomorrow. I have a birthday brunch for a beautiful friend on Sunday. I have two days to recharge my batteries, slow down a bit and enjoy the people I love.

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Happy Friday everyone!

What are you most looking forward to this weekend?