Christmas 2015 Recap

Hi friends! I hope you all had a great long weekend and Christmas holiday if you celebrate.  I am back at work today, but wanted to share a quick recap of our holiday festivities, including the yummy food and some fun gifts Santa brought.  As I mentioned in my 24 Days of Togetherness post, Christmas Eve was spent with Boyfriend’s family eating McDonald’s and opening gifts in our PJs.  I ended up having an Egg McMuffin (sans meat) and a Mango Pineapple Smoothie for dinner, which wasn’t so bad after all. 

Waking up to our first Christmas Day in our new home was something I’ll cherish for a long time.  I was excited to get ready for our guests, so I was up super early and let Boyfriend sleep in.  I enjoyed a big mug of tea in quiet, reflective bliss looking at our Christmas tree before getting started on cooking and cleaning.  

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As I’m writing this I’ve realized I was a total blogger failure and barely took pictures over the weekend, so there aren’t many pretty food and gifts pics to share!  Oops.  Our Christmas menu included Coffee Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Au Jus, Pumpkin Risotto and Balsamic Roasted Veggies.  Thank goodness Santa brought me a beautiful Cuisinart Dutch Oven, because as I began cooking I realized I didn’t have a roasting pan to make the beef in!  

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As I cooked, I enjoyed a few glasses of my favorite Montepulciano and even used some in the Au Jus.  The food turned out fabulously, though I have to take everyone else’s word on the beef.  I dry rubbed it with this BBQ Rub from Trader Joe’s and it was a big hit!  Here’s boyfriend slicing it up…

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And he’s rocking a Justin Bieber Santa hat!  After dinner, we enjoyed dessert and coffee/tea and soaked up family time.  Boyfriend’s niece was the star of the show, of course.  

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Santa was good to her and to all of us!  In addition to my beautiful new dutch oven, I received awesome knives, essential oils and a diffuser, jewelry, adult coloring books, audible credits (!) and more.  I still love giving gifts more than I like to receive them, but it is fun to get some thoughtful new things on Christmas.  More than anything, I’m thankful we had such a great first Christmas in our home.  Even this guy agrees:

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How was your holiday weekend? Was Santa good to you too?  Tell me about it…

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Fear, Fun and Food in Las Vegas

Fear, Fun and Food in Las Vegas

It’s been exactly a week since we touched back down in New York from our 5-day adventure in Las Vegas.  My brother and his beautiful girlfriend live out in Nevada and I somehow haven’t been able to visit until last week.  Boyfriend and I were “hired” as dog-sitters for a few days and decided to turn it into an opportunity to spend time with family and explore Las Vegas.  Here’s a quick recap of our trip in photos:

Though we didn’t spend a ton of time on the strip during our stay, I made sure we visited the important stuff…aka the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign! 😉

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Our trip included lots of pitbull love…playing, hugging and napping.  Let me tell you, these pits are really scary, vicious creatures….

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Our first big Vegas adventure was a trip to Red Rock Canyon, including an attempted hike up Turtle Head Peak.  I tried conquering a big fear (heights), but only made it about 3/4 of the way up before totally melting down.  The boyfriend had to do some serious coaching to get me safely down from that mountain, so I count that it as a team-building exercise!  The views in Red Rock Canyon were absolutely amazing though, from my safe viewpoint on the ground. 😉

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After a rough morning of hiking, we rested up and headed to the strip for the evening.  We saw The Beatles LOVE Cirque Du Soleil (which was incredible!) and then enjoyed some Southern cuisine at Yardbird in The Venetian.  SO good!
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After dinner we strolled down the strip and stopped for the fountain show at the Bellagio, before heading home to go to sleep.

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The next day we drove out to The Valley of Fire, a must-see if you’re in Nevada.  It definitely makes you feel small in this world!

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 After the VoF, we drove over the Hoover Dam into Arizona, but didn’t stop because y’all know I wouldn’t get anywhere close to the edge of that crazy high tourist attraction!

For dinner, we went to The Perch, a cute little restaurant in Container Park, one of my favorite parts of Las Vegas.  I’m not into gambling and clubbing, but this area of Downtown LV was right up my alley! The next day, there was a lot more pitbull snuggling before scooping my brother and his lady up from the airport.  Dinner that night was an incredible Italian meal at LAVO, including this gigantic meatball!  I didn’t eat it, but you know I had to snap a picture of it! It was HUGE!

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After dinner, my brother showed us around Omnia, one of the clubs he works at.  Insane!   My partying days are long gone, but I never partied like that! Yikes!

On our last day in Vegas, we drove up to the Mount Charleston Lodge for brunch.  Delicious food on the patio deck of a mountain lodge is much more my style…

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After a super-indulgent brunch, we headed to Range 702 right off the strip to shoot some guns! Side note: guns totally aren’t my thing either, but boyfriend and my brother love them and I wanted to at least learn how to shoot.

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I have to say, the range wasn’t as scary as I expected it to be, but I definitely didn’t like how loud some of the guns were.  I’ll have to go back and get more practice, so I can actually see what I’m aiming at next time! 😉

So there you have it…our action-packed Vegas Vacation.  We enjoyed lots of good food and adventure, which is a successful trip in my mind.  I’m so glad we were able to visit my brother and spend time with him, his girlfriend and the pups! Notice there was no discussion about casinos?  I hate risking my hard-earned money, but we did gamble a whole $10 (and lost it), just to say we did it.  When in Vegas…

Have you been to Vegas?  What were your Vegas adventures?  Do you like to gamble? Tell me about it!

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