The Christmas holiday season is full of fun traditions. What are some of yours? In our abode, we are starting some new traditions and keeping some old for our little party of three! My husband and I married later in life, meaning, we were the single ones always traveling to another family member’s house for the holidays. Now, we are determined to spend Christmas Day at home so we can partake in our own festivities, our way. I don’t know about you, but I love the matching Christmas pajamas I see on other families. It is so funny to see what they picked out and it is very impressive when a group of 20+ people are all in the same pj’s! This year, hubby and I opted for some comfy flannel from Land’s End. Perhaps next year I can plan better to get all three of us in the same outfit. Our little Thor-Olav wore cute pajamas purchased from Nordstrom.
A Schmidt family trip to Aspen to celebrate our son’s 1st birthday, why not? After all, he only turns one once! We wanted to go BIG for our ONE and only! Even though it was considered “off season” in early October we felt like we got the best of both worlds! Our first few days we caught the Fall golden foliage… then it snowed! It’s like Fall and Winter all packaged in one week! We stayed at the Hyatt Grand Aspen which was centrally located….a perfectly walkable spot and convenient to everything! We felt blessed! Our three bedroom unit had a balcony facing the pool, it had a cozy fireplace in our living room and bedrooms, plus the kitchen / dining / living room was spacious. And, travelling with a kid we were very grateful for the washer and dryer. No joke, out little one blew through 3 outfits just from Houston to Aspen! We made the mistake of renting a car and driving though Independence Pass….that very narrow, winding, high elevation route made our son VERY car sick. Oops…we won’t make that same mistake twice! Gorgeous scenic view, but it was NOT fun.
A treasure in my family for generations is the opportunity to visit Priest Lake, Idaho. My father, keeping tradition alive, rents cabins at Hills Resort during July and again in September and shares this sweet spot with our family and his special guests. From Houston we fly to Denver then to Spokane, Washington then take a 2.5 hour scenic drive to Idaho. Nestled near cities you might be more familiar such as Sand Point and Coeur d’Alene, consider Priest Lake the “Crown Jewel” of the Idaho Panhandle! The history of Priest Lake dates back almost 10,000 years at the end of the ice age. Glaciers once covered this area. Jesuit Priests would eventually settle the lake in the 1840’s and the rest is history! Literally, I tell anyone I know that this is the only lake that I trust!! Ha Ha. The water is crystal clear. I grew up on this lake water skiing, jet skiing, boating, and swimming. I never once felt a fish nibble on my toes. Besides boating, the area lends itself to outdoors seekers for hiking, fishing, motorbiking, skiing, and snowmobiling.
Enter the trance of exotic Sedona, Arizona. A flight to Phoenix then a few hours drive, you will enter this fire-like magical wonderland. A peaceful place, many come to meditate, hike, retreat, and heal. There are magical powers we hear coming from the five area vortexes. A many “psychics” call this place home too. They must know something? I really wanted to find out, but it will have to be a reading on another trip!
My husband just celebrated a “round” birthday. So, we decided to take a nice vacation to a place we have never been. So, Sedona here we came! And, somewhere not like Vegas I might add! It did not take us long to agree on Sedona, and the Hyatt Vacation Club Pinon Pointe was perfect for us and our +1! Located in the heart of the city, walkable to restaurants and attractions, we could not have landed in a better place. Breakfast and Starbucks coffee at 7am, then a dip in the pool, then exploring the beautiful town and surroundings. Not a bad view anywhere, including the gas station! Also, the property had an activities center which included ping pong, pool table, free internet, grilles, and a fire pit.
Since we have an 8-month old son, we knew this trip was more of a test than a full on eventful adventure. We used our days to discover what we can do in the future! Hiking is definitely an attraction, including their “pink jeep” tours, helicopter tours, river rafting, etc. We very much enjoyed just driving our rental car anywhere and everywhere. Popular sites include Maroon Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Coffee Pot Rock, Cathedral Rock, Snoopy Rock, and Bell Rock.
Hello world, I have gone keto krazy! It’s the new buzz word in the food diet industry that has received a lot of attention lately, because it works! And, hopefully restaurants will catch on soon so dining out is not such a challenge.
So here’s the quick keto scoop. The ketogenic diet is a high fat, adequate protein, low carbohydrate diet that forces the body to burn fats rather than carbs. Normally carbs contained in food turn to glucose which is transported around the body which fuels brain function. However, if there are few carbs the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies which in turn replace glucose as an energy source. The classic ketogenic diet was developed for treatment for paediatric epilepsy in the 1920’s, actually. Other therapeutic uses include treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, autism, brain cancer, Parkinson’s, and the list goes on. PLEASE consult with a doctor.
Our trip to Carmel By The Sea would certainly not be complete unless we did some wine tasting! California does produce some of my favorite wines. I was born in CA so perhaps their grapes are in my bloodline? LOL.
There are wine rooms on every block in this town. We took a stroll into the Galante Vineyards tasting room. There was a good social echo coming out of their propped open door. It sounded inviting, so we literally followed the vibe thinking, we’ll just pop in for a minute. Well, that minute lasted more than an hour and before we knew it, we tasted all kinds of wines from their extensive library, nibbling on cheese and snacks, chatting up the locals, and hanging out with wine guru Jack Galante himself! His family is some of the original founders of Carmel. They have a deep history here and it was fun to hear his stories. Did you know that a woman’s high heels is banned in this town? A funny local law that is still in place but not enforced. LOL! Ok, back to the wine. Our tasting only cost $30 by the way. Not a bad deal at all!
Baby Schnitzel is one lucky man and he’s not even here yet! Recently, my blonde mafia besties hosted the most incredible baby shower for us in Houston. Graciously opening her doors to her fabulous home for 30 women, Lori Bergeron offered the most magical venue for the event. Add in all of the amazing and personalized decor, food, and hottie friends, this party was a “looker”!
My friend Anna Kaplan quoted, “This is straight out of Town & Country Magazine.” And, I cannot agree with her more! Every detail was thoroughly thought out and I really felt like the most special lady alive that day! I still do actually!
July 1st was Canada Day. In honour of Canada’s birthday my husband and I set off on a journey to find a Canadian food specialty called “poutine”. Believe it or not, it is no easy find in this melting pot of a city with over 4 million people! Fortunately, there is help on the way! Let me introduce you to Houston’s newest restaurant in the thriving Energy Corridor called Tubs Poutine!
Brother-sister duo Brian and Caroline Nguyen along with chef guru Lyle Mathes are the first to open a poutine only restaurant right here in Houston. Barely 1-month old, this restaurant is creating a crowd who loves food with a heart, comfort for the soul, and a casual friendly atmosphere which gets you to saying all is “Eh-OK” in this world! Brian’s world travels to Toronto, Canada inspired him to bring this cuisine back to Texas. Fortunate for him, his sister Caroline is a veteran in the food and hospitality industry and chef Lyle has cooked for the Jimmy Kimmel show, the Houston Rockets, the New England Patriots, American Idol and the Los Angeles Lakers….just to name a few! Even cuter to the story, “Tubs” is the nickname of Brian’s son.
There are many milestones in our lives, in my case, I had to combine two at once! I recently hosted my 40th Birthday party with my besties, but what they did not know is that I was 15 weeks pregnant! A very hard secret to keep when my social life involves champagne! Not to mention, hiding a 3-month baby bump!
Pink and blue was my color scheme and a spring patio setting was important to me. The perfect venue for a Sunday afternoon was A’Bouzy….a champagne bar and restaurant in the oh-so-fancy River Oaks neighborhood! My spread included fresh floral arrangements, charcuterie board and lite bites, Sprinkles mini cupcakes
(some gluten free), and flowing champagne! I wanted my guests to be bubbled up with sugar and sweets for our very special announcement!
I got married at 37-years old, so having a “Baby Schnitzel” as we are calling our little bundle, is truly a blessing! Honestly, the thought of being a mother grew with me in time. When I was in my 20’s-early 30’s, I just wanted to work hard and play hard! Today, I still enjoy of that but my priorities have shifted. I love being married and motherhood is my next natural progression. I cannot wait!!!
I love the holidays for so many reasons. It is this time of year when people amp up their game BIG TIME with festive decor, cuisine and desserts, music, and all of that shared with quality bonding time with family and friends.
It’s the traditions that fascinate me. In The Schmidt family (my in-laws) for instance, every New Year in Ohio they host a family fondue night. First off, the natural setting up North is so perfect because it’s cold outside, the fireplace is crackling, we’re all bundled up in sweaters and boots, and this year there was snow which makes it even more magical! Back to the food, how about hosting a party where your guests are their own chefs? That’s right, just master the art of gathering and forget the thought of slaving in the kitchen! That’s why fondue night is such a genius idea. The fondue fixins are unreal folks and all will forget you did not spend all day and night in the kitchen preparing their meal! The spread gets more ambitious every year I think. Check out this display. Besides the cheese, salivate over the lobster, tuna, yellowtail, shrimp, beef, and oh yeah the veggies! A new addition to the savory lineup is the ravioli and the truffle tortellini! This tradition takes hours of edible enjoyment and it’s interactive which I love too. Mix in some German gluehwein to wash it all down or sip some champagne cocktails, laugh and chat a bit, then dive in for seconds, and thirds, nobody is counting! To finish off the evening with some sweetness, bring on the chocolate with strawberries, pineapple and bananas! My life is complete!