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!

 

South Lake Tahoe

We’ve been planning a trip to south lake Tahoe since the end of last year with 4 other couples and it finally happened this past weekend! Tahoe is the perfect weekend escape if you live in the Bay Area (and recommended as a detestation even if you don’t!) because it’s only about 4 hours away and has all different activities to do in the summer or winter. Mike and I usually frequent north lake (you can read about our trips here and here) but I feel like the south shore has more of a party vibe and is better to go with friends.

All of the couples spent the weekend in a cabin we rented close to the state line (between California and Nevada) but Mike and I drove up late on Thursday night. We split a room at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino with our friends Ben and Sandra because the boys wanted to spend all of Friday on the mountain snowboarding and skiing (instead of driving up like everyone else). On our way up, we stopped at Panera, which is a go-to place when we are on the road since it’s relatively healthy.  The restaurant recently rolled out a new campaign using clean ingredients and having a “transparent menu.” In my opinion this should be standard for waaaay more (if not all!) restaurants but at least someone is making the first steps. I am happy to support businesses that care about nutrition and the health of their costumers so I gladly spend my money here. Sadly we nixed our weekatarian ways and ate meat during this meal. I ordered the broccoli and cheddar soup and a Cobb salad without cheese; both were good and kept me full for the rest of our journey to Tahoe.

When we got there around midnight, Ben and Sandra were still about 45 minutes out and we couldn’t check in without them since the hotel was under Ben’s name. Instead we grabbed a beer in the casino and tried not to inhale too much. #smokingkills

On Friday the guys went straight to the lift and Sandra and I spent a leisurely day getting coffee, sushi, and drinking wine while watching Ellen. Since I broke my no meat on the week rule the day before, I ordered vegetable tempura and  a cucumber roll for lunch with a side of edamame. Around 6pm most of the other couples arrived and we got ready for dinner at MacDuff’s Pub. This place was cute and cozy; basically a quintessential Irish pub. Half of our group ordered the truffled mac n cheese and, as good as it looked, I knew it would be too rich for me so I got the corned beef and cabbage instead. I also went against tradition and got a hot toddy instead of a beer. After dinner, we went back to the cabin and played Anomia, this crazy fun card game that involves a lot of quick thinking and shouting at each other.

Saturday started with a lazy breakfast of eggs, bacon, and fruit + a coffee run. It could be just me but heading to Starbucks with a huge list of coffee orders makes me feel oddly very much like an adult…

Back at the cabin, armed with caffeine and Chromecast, we alternated between watching Beyonce and Justin Bieber music videos. (Also, very adult like;) Finally around 1pm we collectively decided it was time to go outside and play in the snow. We gathered our gloves, hats, beers, and googles to go sledding nearby.

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I was starving when we got back to the house and was stoked that I had leftovers from the night before. After scarfing down the rest of my corned beef and cabbage, it was time to hot tub! While we were soaking in the jacuzzi the last couple arrived. We all went to Cold Water Brewery & Grill for dinner with the intention of going to the casinos after. Mike and I split pretzel bites with beer fondue, a rice + veggie bowl, and fish & chips. It was a lot of food and we just couldn’t rally after… The whole group was tired and suffering from food comas so we went back to the cabin and fell asleep. …I guess that’s what  happens when you vacation with a group of 26+ year olds.

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Everyone!
On Sunday there was another coffee run and some brunch action before going home. We saw the brunch menu at Cold Water Brewery & Grill the night before and went there again to try their monkey bread. Mike and I split an order of the ooey-gooey-carmel-delcious- ness and each got an order of eggs Benedict which was WAY too much food.

Overall the weekend was filled with more beer than vegetables and essentially no exercise but a lot of fun with good company in a great location! Sometimes you just need a weekend away with friends… amIright?!

#VegOut

♡ Ashley