White Christmas ⛄

Mike’s family is in town for the holidays and we spent the past week in Tahoe. On Monday we all drove up to South Lake Tahoe. Since there are 6 of us + Mike’s niece (who is a year and a half), we opted to stay in Airbnbs this holiday. Having access to an entire house and all of the comforts of home is great when traveling with a big group of people.

Our first Airbnb was nice and spacious! After we unpacked, a few of us went to the store to stock up on supplies. It’s a huge money saver to have a kitchen to prepare meals in when traveling. After a day of traveling, we decided on an easy dinner of spinach and cheese ravioli with green beans.

We spent 3 days in South Lake before heading North. During our stay, we ate at MacDuff’s (the same pub we went to in February when we went to Tahoe with friends). I love this place, particularly in the winter because it is so cozy. And what’s more comforting than a huge portion of corned beef and cabbage (my go-to order) in cold weather?

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Baby Ella ready to leave MacDuff’s!

One day we walked down to the beach to “get our steps in.” It was about a 45 minute walk which wasn’t bad at all, though it did get significantly cooler on the walk home. While we were beach front, we stumbled upon a restaurant called Jimmy’s. Here we warmed up with spiked minty cocoa and hot toddies. It was snowing a little bit but not enough to stop us from sitting outside around the fire pit. Talk about a movie moment; snow, a fire pit, and boozy winter beverages. I’ll take it!

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It’s snowwwing (and my jacket is not water snow proof)
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Drying socks fireside

On our last night in South Lake we went to see an improv show at Harvey’s. Felicia Michaels and Gene Pompa were performing. They were both funny but I remember the show being better a few years ago when Mike and I went (with different comedians performing). Either way, standup seems to be one of those things I forget how much I love until I see a show. (Side note: if standup shows are your thing, Ali Wong: Baby Cobra is hysterical.)

Midway through the week we drove to North Lake. Before the drive we stopped at Free Bird Cafe to fuel up on coffee. I just happened to come across this place when I Google mapped “coffee” and I’m so glad I did. It is a little hole in the wall type place with good coffee and healthy snacks. Definitely recommended!

About half way through our drive, we stopped at Emerald Bay and went on a snowy hike. I was happy to get some exercise in after many glasses of wine and indulgences. Unfortunately I didn’t finish the last bit of the hike because my shoulder was hurting from falling out of crow pose a day days before (embarrassing!!). I also didn’t snap many pictures this vacation but, if you haven’t been, Emerald Bay is worth a visit. It’s gorgeous!

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That view!

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Once in North Lake, we got a severe storm warning. We went to the store to stock up on more supplies (water and wine topping the list) and spent another lazy night in.  The next day, despite the snowy weather, we headed to mine and Mike’s home away from home, The Resort at Squaw Creek (you can read about our other Squaw adventures here, here, and here) for lunch at Sandy’s Pub.

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Fresh snow in North Lake

On Saturday, Mike and his brother-in-law went snowboarding and, from what I heard, the conditions were perfect. The rest of us met them for lunch in the Village at Rocker@Squaw. After lunch, Mike’s sister and I stayed for a drink until the boys were done on the mountain. It was fun being in the Village while it was snowing. #winterwonderland

Sunday was Christmas and we spent the morning opening stockings and eating breakfast. A few years ago we were in Australia on Christmas (read about it here), which had a similar vibe to this year’s Christmas festivities. The day was casual (it’s hard to lug presents for everyone when traveling to different countries) and cheerful!

After stockings, we packed up and headed to Reno for Christmas dinner with my grandparents, mom and stepdad. It was great having so much family altogether. 🙂

This weekend we are off to Sonoma for New Years. Stay tuned!

 

Tahoe Birthday Festivities

We celebrated Mike’s birthday at one of our favorite places this weekend, Squaw Valley in North lake Tahoe. Since it was a long holiday weekend we got up early and left on Saturday morning, anticipating a nice, relaxing 3 day weekend. After fueling up at our favorite local bagel shop, Bagel Guys, we set out  on the 4 hour drive to Tahoe. We arrived around 12pm; just in time for lunch! Since check in at the resort wasn’t until 4pm, we decided to eat and then spend time on the lake kayaking.

We stopped at Tahoe Brewing Co. for lunch and split a flight of beer, chicken wings, and a hummus + avocado wrap. I’ve mentioned on here before that I typically aim for one carb meal, one protein meal, and one combo meal (carb and protein meal) in a day. I find this to be the most effective way for eating a balanced diet (esp. when traveling!) and maintaining a healthy body weight. Of course, I’m also sure to load up on veggies whenever possible! Our wings and veg wrap were the perfect combo meal and kept me full for hours.

Unfortunately the lake was too choppy for us to kayak after lunch so we went to the resort early and had a drink poolside with our toes dipped in the water. For dinner we went to Sandy’s Pub and split the ribs and mango shrimp. (Since we had bagels that morning – hello, carbs! – it was time for a protein focused meal.)

After dinner we went back to our room for gifts, scotch, and games! Mike’s actual birthday was on Sunday but I couldn’t contain myself and made him open his presents early. We also FaceTime’d with Mike’s sister and niece in Melbourne (where it was already his birthday!).

Opening presents fireside 🙂

On Sunday we woke up and had cheesy eggs on bagels (I actually skipped the bagel knowing the day was going to be full of indulgences), fruit, coffee and tea. After we FaceTime’d with Mike’s parents in Toronto (family all over the world!) we rode our bikes to Olympic Village. There we took the same gondola we did a few years ago to the top of a mountain where we spent the day in the hot tub, basically only breaking for lunch (a hot dog and veg and chicken kabobs, split of course).

On our way up!

For dinner I took Mike to Six Peaks, one of our favorite fancy places to dine! Everyone is so friendly there and the food is ah-mazing; it’s hard not to have a great time. We started with a  charcuterie board with Humboldt fog (the best cheese!!), Toma cheese, and prosciutto. It was served with honey and blackberries and was devine.  For dinner, we each ordered a filet mignon and shared side of truffle mashed potatoes and asparagus. They brought Mike dessert for his birthday that (we think) was banana pudding in a cookie-crust bowl with bananas, whip cream, and chocolate shavings on top. I don’t think we would have ordered it if we saw it on the menu but, like everything at Six Peaks, it was heaven.

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Our view of the pools at dinner
Strong after-dinner selfie game

On Monday, Mike woke up early for a swim. I met him a bit later for tea and hot tubing! We spent a lazy morning alternating between the pool and hot tub. For breakfast Mike had banana bread and a chocolate croissant (I had bites of both!) and I stuck to fruit and hard boiled eggs (definitely a less decadent breakfast but I find protein in the morning works better for me).

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Morning bliss!

Since we weren’t able to kayak on Saturday, we tried again before we left and luckily the water wasn’t as choppy! We spent a hour on beautiful lake Tahoe, kayaking together and taking it all in. One of my favorite things about mine and Mike’s relationship is how much we do togetherHe urges me to explore the world through activity (bike rides, hikes, kayaking, etc.), while accompanying me on my never-ending quest of healthy eating and compassionate living. I don’t think I could have picked a better partner! 💙

After working up an appetite on the lake, we broke into our cheese, cracker, and prosciutto leftovers from dinner the night before. Then, still hungry and needing more food, we went to Rocker@Squaw and noshed on (more) wings and a veggie plater with hummus and Green Goddess dressing. NomNOM.

After lunch we stopped for a coffee and one last splurge at Dorinda’s Chocolates – best sea salt caramels in all the land!

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As usual, our time at squaw did not disappoint! Now the countdown is on for when we return in December with Mike’s family. 🙂

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!

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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!

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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!

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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 bomb.com and Mike gave me the last/uneven extra one so ya know, I fell in love with him all over again, type thing.

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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.

#VegOut

♡ Ashley

*#barbaric – JUST KIDDING!

**”they” being HuffPo