Oh the Places We Will Go…

Daydreaming of faraway destinations and possible adventures is as common as breathing in our household (particularly sunnier locations as of late to escape the dreary Seattle rain). Ranging from international to domestic, touristy to exotic, tropical to frigid, the location always varies and in hindsight truly doesn’t matter as we find joy in the culture, people, and history of each and every place.   The three cities listed below are vacations we hope to take in the near future: one historic and bright, one relaxing and beachy, and one covered in snow and active. What trips are on your bucket list for 2015? If you have any suggestions for any of the places below, please let me know!

Trips I Want to Take

Slow Cooker Beef and Potato Stew

Hearty Beef Stew

The weather forecast this month for the Seattle area is a consistent daily report of dreary days filled with rain heavy clouds, dark skies, and wet pavement. The only plausible solution is to warm up with chunky, waterproof layers and comfort food in my belly.

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Slow Cooker Beef Stew (via):

1 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
10.5 ounce can condensed French Onion soup
1 cup water
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
3 pounds boneless beef chunk, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes with excess fat trimmed
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 pounds baby Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into halves or quarters
1 medium onion, large dice cut
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 cups frozen peas
additional salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup potato flakes (instant mashed potatoes), as need to thicken stew
crusty Italian bread, toasted

Add chicken broth, onion soup, water, tomato paste, and soy sauce into the slow cooker; whisk together to evenly distribute the tomato paste. In a large bowl, season beef chunks with salt and pepper. Add the seasoned beef, potatoes, onion, and carrots to the slow cooker; cover with lid and cook on high for 6-7 hours until beef is tender. Before serving, add frozen peas and allow to cook for an additional 5-8 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup potato flakes to thicken the soup. Add additional potato flakes 1 tablespoon at a time until desired thickness is achieved. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve with toasted bread.

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A Christmas Cocktail

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The popping of champagne to kick off the holiday is a new tradition for us. Thanksgiving Day consisted of simple OJ + champagne mimosas, but the addition of frozen cranberries and cranberry juice for Christmas made this cocktail recipe festively fun. Simply place a handful of frozen cranberries in each glass, fill the glass half full with champagne and top it off with 2/3 cranberry juice and 1/3 orange juice. I’m already looking forward to discovering a new twist for our next holiday, any ideas?

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In My Red High Heels

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me: heels | denim | top (similar, long sleeve version here) | necklace | earrings | coat (old, similar under $30) | nail polish

justin: boots | pants (code NEWYOU for 40% off) | shirt | cardigan

Red high heels have been on my shopping wish list for as long as I can remember and for good reason: they go with everything and add a little sass to any outfit. The low cross strap on this pair is extremely leg elongating and allows them to pair well with both pants and dresses. Not to mention they add the perfect dash of holiday cheer to an otherwise basic outfit.

See more pictures from our Christmas Day here.

24 Hours of Christmas

5:00 pm – Christmas Eve

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6:00 pm

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8:00 pm

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9:00 pm

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6:30 am – Christmas Day

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7:00 am

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8:00 am

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10:00 am

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1:00 pm

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4:00 pm

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6:00 pm

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5:00 – The girls are anxiously awaiting the start of Christmas festivities
6:00 – Homemade pizza and a serious Phase 10 match up
8:00 – Exchanging gifts
9:00 – Cuddled up in new onesie pajamas to watch our holiday favorites
6:30 – An early morning wake up call to see what Santa brought
7:00 – Santa knew just what the girls wanted
8:00 – Kicking the day off with Christmas cocktails and cinnamon rolls
10:00 – Baking Justin’s favorite treats together in my new apron
1:00 – Dressed up for our first Christmas dinner alone together (outfit info here)
4:00 – Continuing the games
6:00 – Exhausted and ready for a Christmas classic