Holiday festivities

Oh, whoa. How are we already down to the last 2 weeks of December?! This year flew by. It seems like every year is over faster than the last, doesn’t it?

Like most people around this time, Mike and I have been jam-packed these past few weeks. This past week/weekend was particularly crazy. On Thursday my team and I had an offsite at Sur La Table in Palo Alto, where we spent the afternoon drinking wine and cooking. Talk about team bonding! We cooked up some nom Thai food and learned a few cool cooking tricks. Did you know a potato peeler peels both up and down?! I didn’t! The time I could’ve been saving by peeling on the way up too (instead of taking the peeler off of the vegetable before peeling down again)!

Lucky us, the fun didn’t stop on Thursday! On Friday, Upwork rented out a theater for everyone to see the new Star Wars movie. We even had shirts made for the occasion. So fun!

Work hard, play hard y’all.

After the movie, Mike and I headed up to San Francisco for a little staycation. My holiday party was in the city on Saturday evening so we decided to get a hotel room up there for the weekend. We took the train (valet parking was $55/night! what!?) and walked the mile or so to the Intercontinental. I love walking, especially through cities where there is so much to see.


We quickly checked in and headed right back out to meet my friend Debbie for hot pot near Golden Gate Park. We ate a place called Nabe that Debs suggested. Debbie and I went to high school together and I know the girl is good with restaurant recommendations. She always picks yummy places that are healthy. My kind of gal!

Mike and I had never had hot pot before and it didn’t disappoint. As the title suggests,  a “hot pot” that is filled with boiling broth is placed in front of you. Depending on what you order, an array of vegetables and meats are brought out and you cook them in the pot. The broth was delicious (a part of me was like, there has to be MSG in here… mer) and it is a lot of food with all of the sides and the rice they give you. Definitely worth a try!

We kicked off Saturday morning with brunch at Samovar. Mike and I love this place and used to make it to the city once a month just to go there (back when they still had more locations throughout the city). Our good friend Merriem met us and we caught up over chai tea and noshes. So good to see old friends!


What else but #avotoast


After brunch we walked to All Birds, a shoe shop that sells slip-ons and lace-ups made of wool. I know it is the holiday season but I was shocked to find a line outside the store. We waited for about 15 minutes before getting to go inside and try on shoes. They are so comfy, we both walked out with a pair and “joined the flock.” 😉


Next we walked along the Embarcadero and enjoyed the nice weather. Then a quick trip to the Ferry Building for some browsing before getting ready for the holiday soiree.

My holiday party was at The Pearl in the Dogpatch. Holy glamorous! It was Speakeasy themed and the venue/decorations transported me. There was even a “secret” speakeasy you could only access with a pin and once you left, the pin was taken from you and your access revoked. Mike and I enjoyed the evening, drinking cocktails and mingling with everyone.



On Sunday we took full advantage of late check out and slept in. I wished we capitalized on another day in the city (Saturday was so fun walking around and taking in SF!) but after a night of drinking and dancing, sleep was priority.

This week we’re finishing starting Christmas shopping and packing up to go to Toronto! Happy holidays!

Washington… you my jam


Monday was particularly hard today because we spent the weekend away in Washington and had such a good time! Our friends Morgan and Joe (celebrity name: MoJo) moved to Bellevue last year and because life is so busy, Mike and I were finally able to make it up there for a visit (10 months later). We flew out Friday evening and, to tide us over for the flight, split a beer and a small order of potato skins at the airport. Yum, airport food…………..

We arrived in Seattle around 9pm, a little cold (California is in a serious drought and I haven’t experienced life under 70 degrees in a while…) but mostly just really excited to be there! MoJo got engaged this year (!) and Morgan just started a new job so there was a lot to catch up on our drive to where they live in Bellevue.

Bellevue is this perfect little city (that amazingly isn’t too crowded or dirty) about 10 minutes from Seattle. We stopped at one of Morgan and Joe’s favorite restaurant Lot No. 3 before going back to their apartment. We started the night with drinks (wine for the ladies and beer for the men) while we waited for our table. I expected to be starving by this point but wasn’t actually too hungry when we sat down for dinner. Instead of ordering a full meal I stuck with one veggie slider (which were sold individually) and a side of fries. I’m not sure if it’s more of a mental thing or an actual physical reaction but sometimes eating meat (like the bacon pieces on our potato skins) makes me feel nauseous so I thought it was best to go vegetarian at dinner. Washington has all of these amazing local, organic, vegetarian/vegan options when dining out. Heaven!

After dinner we headed to MoJo’s for a few brews and glasses of wine before bed. Which was after 2am… Which is really late for us now… ( Or, at least for me!)

The next morning was pretty lazy with a late wake up call and a decadent brunch. (My favorite kind of morning!) We went to the Hyatt for unlimited fresh squeezed orange juice(!), eggs Benedict and apple + almond waffles. The food was delicious even in the midst of a reverse hangover…. (I have no idea why but I woke up feeling fine and then progressively started showing signs of a hangover…!?!?)

After brunch we drove around Lake Washington to look at all of the nice houses that  surround the area. (Bill Gates lives here, to give you an idea of the houses there…. $$$$$$$$$$$) After a short tour, I was in some serious need of caffeine so we made a pit stop at Cafe Cesura, a “hip” (do people still say that?) cafe where I really wanted to try a latte but was feeling nauseous again so ordered an organic black English breakfast tea to-go instead.


I’m in the middle of a 30 day yoga challenge so before we headed out again Morgan and I did a quick yoga sesh. After we namaste’d, it was time to go WINE TASTING. We drove a few miles from Bellevue to Woodinville, which is a super cute little town with a lot different places to wine taste. Our first stop was a smaller place where we snagged a corner table and sipped on rosés, whites and reds. Next we went to Mark Ryan, a trendy, open tasting room recommended to Morgan by a friend. This place had cool high ceilings and a more trendier vibe than our first tasting. I’m not a wine expert by any means (I order the cheapest glass on the menu!) but Morgan knows a lot about different flavors, grapes, etc. Slightly buzzed we decided it was time for some quick appetizers at Purple Cafe. The menu here was amazing and, if it was later, I would have loved to eat dinner here. But since it was barely five, we stuck to small plates to share. We ordered a fig and goat cheese flat bread and an order of spicy prawns and frites. After we chowed down (and sobered up), we recognized this combination was a little strange but does it really matter when you’re on vacation? #no

IMG_1175When we got back to Bellevue, we headed to Earls for dinner. Mike and I had been to Earls a few years ago when we did a trip to B.C. and since most of the locations are in Canada, we were happy to be able to go back! I ordered the chicken tacos with a side Cesar salad and a too-sweet peach cocktail that I couldn’t finish. (Like most of the trip, I forgot to snap a picture until midway through my meal but I can promise, the food tasted a lot better than it looks in my crappy picture…) After dinner we went back to MoJo’s where we were planning on calling it a night until we googled a bar recommended to us from some frequent Seattle visitors and realized it wouldn’t be open the next day before our flight. So we headed back out for a nightcap at  Zigzag,  a speakeasy type bar with old school cocktails. I was already showered and in my pajamas when we decided to go and, typically, I would have wanted to stay in but since Sunday was our last day, I figured why not?! You can sleep on the weekdays, after all.

12063018_424036884458587_671607061_nOn Sundy, our flight wasn’t until 8pm so we still had an entire day left to explore the PNW. After another late-start morning, we walked to a nearby cafe for croissants and lattes. Mike and I split the chocolate + almond and ham + cheese croissants. One savory and one sweet to satisfy both of our cravings. And then we were off to explore Pike Place Market, a major tourist spot in Seattle. We walked around the farmer’s market while sampling chocolates and sipping on organic apple cider. Since California  hasn’t gotten the memo that it’s fall now, it was nice to enjoy some cooler weather and cozier activities. (We’re still swimming on the weekends at home.) After Pike Place we went to Capitol Hill, which is the equivalent to the Castro in San Francisco for Seattle. It was fun to explore another new neighborhood and proves that visiting locals in the best way to travel. In sticking with the theme of local-favorites, we headed to Paseo next. Mike’s old roommate moved up to WA and told usIMG_1184 about this sandwich shop-gem. Word to the wise? IF YOU EVER VISIT SEATTLE YOU NEED TO GO TO PASEO! Mike and I split a Caribbean Roast and Paseo Press while Morgan and Joe stuck to veggie options and got the Onion Obsessed Sandwich and Tofu Delight. In between big bites, messy hands, and giant sauteed onion slices, the four of us raved about Paseo’s food the entire meal.

After our massive, marvelous, sandwiches, it was time to go to the airport. Washington was so much fun with some of the best food I’ve had this year! (Which reminded me of how underwhelmed I was with the food when I was in New York a few months ago… Stay tuned for the post!)


♡ Ashley

Food Crawlin’

This past weekend was full of favorites for me and Mike. We spent the weekend at Resort at Squaw Creek in North Lake Tahoe. We stayed at this resort for the first time last year and got upgraded to a “fireplace suite.” Whoever upgraded us should get some sort of promotion because the resort has become a home away from home for us during the past year! And – not to be bougie – buuuuut if we had stayed in a regular room* that first time, I don’t think the weekend would have made such a lasting impression on us. Now, we splurge for the suites and, let me tell you, having a fireplace (and a stove, a toaster, a master bedroom and 2 TVs) in your hotel room, never gets old!


Aside from staying at the resort, we partook in a pretty amazing food crawl. If you don’t know what a food crawl is (like many of the waiters and waitresses who wanted to be sure we only wanted a salad… for both of us… to split…), it’s when you “crawl” from eatery to eatery having your appetizer, salad, soup, entree, dessert, etc. all at different restaurants. Food crawls are great because they allow you to sample a lot of different foods, especially on vacations when there are so many restaurants to try! (Note, they do get a little pricey with the tipping included at each new place but I think it’s worth the experience.) 

We started at the welcoming event the resort offers on Friday evenings with beer and app samples and then went to the pub located on the property. Here we each ordered a cocktail and decided on the pretzel bites with jalapeno cheddar (for me) and spicy mustard (for Mike) dipping sauces. From past experience (you might remember when I wasn’t eating meat in March and ordered these same pretzel bites for dinner), I know these are delicious so it was hard to get just the half order but we knew we have to save room for the rest of the evening!


IMG_0916 IMG_0919


Next we took the free shuttle service to The Village and stopped at a bar(?) called 22. If I’m being honest, I have to say this was my least favorite stop on the crawl. We split a steak salad with fennel and beets. I enjoyed the salad but the atmosphere, in my opinion, was lacking. It felt a little old world and stuffy… (and I thought it smelt weird but Mike didn’t feel the same so, who knows?) After our salad, we went to another pub (this one Irish) and ordered the potato skins and sliders which were so unhealthy and full of fat and cheese and calories amazing! We ended our food crawl with a pear tart at a pizza place (not photographed) and a nightcap back in our suite!

Lunch trio!

The next day, we took the tram to the top of the mountains where there was a pool, hot tub, cafe, bar, and a mini-museum from the 1960 Olympics that were hosted at Squaw. At the cafe we split 3 appetizers (another good way to try a lot of different things!!); the bruschetta with an avocado drizzle, a flat bread with spinach, figs and a balsamic glaze, and BBQ wings. I had higher hopes for the flat bread and the bruschetta – which were both just okay – but the wings were the and Mike gave me the last/uneven extra one so ya know, I fell in love with him all over again, type thing.

Cheese and meat eats

For dinner (I fell in love, yet again;), Mike treated me to a fancy-schmancy steak dinner at Six Peaks, the resort’s restaurant. We started with a cheese and meat sampler that I could have had all to myself and called it a meal. We also ordered/split (do you see a common theme here?) a rib-eye and a fillet with truffle mashed potatoes and asparagus. Seriously. So. Good. And last, but not least, we ended the night with my FAVORITE chocolate covered Oreo’s with mini M&Ms on top (I don’t even like Oreo’s in real life, but put me on top of a mountain, charge me Mike $4.50 per Oreo, and #bliss).

So, to recap, obviously my attempt to stop eating meat during The Veg Voyage has been derailed (steak salad and wings and rib-eye, oh, MY!) but you know what they** say………………….. Oreo’s are vegan.


♡ Ashley

*#barbaric – JUST KIDDING!

**”they” being HuffPo