Friday, December 16, 2016

Winter Wonderland for Christmas

Hi all! TGIF! In my London recap I mentioned a family Christmas trip to Jackson Hole, WY was in the works. Well that trip is finally here. We leave Monday morning for a winter wonderland. In previous posts about travel I have given pieces of information on what we have planned so I thought I would do a brief one here. Sidenote: I may or may not be stalking Jackson Hole's instagram to see all the pretty snow.

I think the whole family has been monitoring the weather. Looks like a lot of snow and super cold temperatures. I.Am.So.Excited :)

Where We Are Staying
In a few trips this year, the hubs and I booked an airbnb to stay in, but his parents reserved a townhouse through VRBO. Has anyone used VRBO and airbnb before? I'm curious to see how the two compare. According to the property description, it is within walking distance to downtown Jackson and near the Snow King Ski resort. Sounds super convenient.

What We'll Do
I am truly hoping for a relaxing vacation. There haven't been many opportunities to relax this year. No skiing for anyone which is kind of ironic since Jackson Hole is a ski resort haha A sleigh ride through the National Elk Refuge has been arranged. I think this will be beautiful! We're trying to pin down a snowmobiling excursion that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Dog sledding would be fun too. The Ariel Tram may be a good way to get some amazing photos (plus I read there is a must try waffle place at the top). The hubs and I took an ariel tram in Katoomba, Australia and ended up with some good photos. So far I have read a lot of "best restaurant" guides and assume that means we will be doing a lot of eating while there. Hello gym in January!

I'm very excited and ready to get there. As always, follow along on SnapChat (@r8d6g) to see our adventures.

Until next post...xoxo Becca

Monday, December 12, 2016

Life Well Organized

January seems to be a time when people get organized (or attempt to). I guess it has to do with having a "clean slate" and pressing the refresh button on life. There are a ton of solutions to closet organization, kitchen organization, and office supply organization, but how do you keep your activities organized? Because the hubs has a crazy work schedule and sometimes we are like ships passing in the night we have a shared Google calendar which we both add events too. Then there's my work calendar and don't forget special occasions likes birthdays and anniversaries. While having all these calendar synced on my phone is helpful, there are times I just need to get a glimpse of the month ahead. That's where my planner comes in handy! Who knew having a well organized planner would equal adult happiness haha

I am terrible at remembering birthdays and anniversaries, which is one of the many reasons I still use a traditional you write in ;) Thought I would take a second to tell you my favorite brand (no I am not being paid). I have been using Blue Sky planners since 2010. Before designer looking planners were a thing, Blue Sky already had cute and functional planners. I mean...I am not a girl who wants a boring black planner. Give me some print and color!!! Another thing I like about the Blue Sky planner is their affordability. Sure I'd love to an Erin Condren planner, but at $30+ that seems a bit over the top. I have bought my Blue Sky planner at Target, Office Depot, and ordered online one year. I shared in August (in this post) I had already purchased my 2017 planner and that thing is already filling up.

If you're one to have a planner check them out and see if one of their designs works for you. I have loved mine over the years and I figured someone else may too. With January around the corner I thought I'd give you some help in advance of the new year :)

Tell me how you keep your life organized? What plans do you have for organization in 2017? Until next post...xoxo Becca

Friday, December 9, 2016

Friday Favorites: Mad for Plaid

It is the time of year where plaid is completely acceptable. I've always wanted to throw a plaid party. I am not a fan of ugly sweater parties so a great (read as classy) alternative is plaid! Here are a couple of plaid fashion items I am loving.


Ann Taylor



New York & Company
Are you a plaid fan? Until next post...xoxo Becca

Monday, December 5, 2016

Rainy Weekend Recap

Goodness did it rain this weekend?! So cold and soaking wet. Like a crazy person I ventured out into the rain to Bryan/College Station to visit a great friend who moved there recently. It was totally worth it though! We had brunch at Madden's ummmm delicious! I highly recommend it. Then it was off to shop a local Christmas market and a few other stops before attending an a cappella concert on TAMU's campus. It was so much fun! Two very talented groups of students.

As usual, Sunday was filled with football and the hubs made a yummy chili.

Not ready for the work week to begin, but so goes the life of an adult. Until next post...xoxo Becca

Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday Favorites: 10 Things I Love About December

Every month I say this "Can it already be ___?" haha But seriously, it's December? When did that happen? Today I want to share all the things I love about December so lets get started :)

  1. Christmas music and Christmas performances: There is something so jolly about Christmas music! For the second year in a row, both my sister-in-laws are performing in Celebration, a musical production put on by Houston's First Baptist Church. If you are in the Houston area consider purchasing tickets, it's memorable!
  2. Christmas lights and decor: Growing up my dad would drive around town to see all the Christmas lights. One house near us had a themed cat every year. It stood probably 20 feet high and had a tail that went up and down. It's hard to describe, but it's a good childhood memory. Being in such a small apartment there is no room for a Christmas tree so this year it's icicle lights on the porch and a wreath. We went a little overboard at my office, but had a great time creating beautiful garland and window displays.
  3. Fuzzy slippers: In Houston we rarely get freezing weather this time of year, but December usually brings cooler temperatures which means I can wear all the warm pajamas and fuzzy slippers I want!
  4. Family photos: This isn't something I did growing up or now with my in-laws, but one day I hope to have a family of my own and get family photos taken each year. What I enjoy now is seeing everyone sharing their photos on facebook and instagram.
  5. Hot chocolate: I don't drink coffee so if you see me at Starbucks it's probably to get a hot chocolate. It's one of my favorite cold weather drinks.
  6. Smell: The smell of December? haha All the winter smells from gingerbread, to sugar cookies, to spiced candles.
  7. Reflection: As the year comes to an end it's a good time to reflect on where you've been and how you've grown. Knowing that a new year is a chance to continue where you want to go. (I'll share some thoughts about 2017 in another post.)
  8. Fires: Ahhhh a warm fire, complete with s'mores (Which I believe may be my favorite dessert)
  9. Parties: The holiday parties are amazing! Good food, good drink, good fun, great people! It's a dream of mine to host fabulous Christmas and/or New Year parties one day.
  10.  Joy: Despite the stress of the holiday season I feel people are more joyful this time of year. They're more kind to one another, generous, and overall a positive reflection of mankind.
Well this post gave me all the feels :) My inner smile is beaming. What are your favorite things about December? Share in the comments below. Until next post...xoxo Becca

Monday, November 28, 2016

Weekend Recap: Thanksgiving

It's no fun being sick during the holidays. One of the reasons posts have been sporadic. However, my skin appreciated the absence of makeup while I was sick. Since the hubs had to work Thanksgiving day (shout out to all the men and women who worked the holiday and to their families who also sacrificed), the family postponed Thanksgiving until Friday. It was a relaxing day with tons of yummy foods. In addition to the traditional Thanksgiving dishes, my sister-in-law made Cranberry-Cream Cheese Crescent Bites that were delicious. I also tried a new dessert recipe, Apple Pie Cake. So good (if you like apple pie)! This dessert is the best of both worlds; apple pie and cake! Best served warm with ice cream (this Texas girl says Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla DUH).

It is finally starting to feel like fall around here. Currently simmering away as I write this post is a recipe I found on Pinterest. I printed the recipe in 2014, but never made it. Creamy Chicken and Rice Recipe (one-pot meal). Before publishing this post I will come back and update you on how it turned out. I love a good stew, soup, or chowder when the weather cools down. Not much of a chili person, but every now and then I enjoy some. I am hoping this recipe is warm and "good for the soul."

It is hard to believe the semester is almost over. Two weeks and the students will be gone for the winter break. Always makes me sad to live in a college town when the students are away.

Until next post...xoxo Becca

Creamy Chicken and Rice Recipe update: Delicious! Why did I wait so long to try it? If you decide to give it a try, use 6 cups of chicken broth. The recipe makes a lot, be prepared to feed an army or eat a lot of leftovers ;)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Gifting Woes

As Black Friday and Cyber Monday approach I wanted to share my thoughts on gifting and all the stuff we accumulate. Take it from someone who went from a 2,000 sq ft house full of stuff to a less than 800 sq ft apartment which contains less than a quarter of what said house did. If I haven't learned anything else from this experience, I now know the importance stuff lacks. If I can't eat it, wear it (let's be honest I still love clothes), or travel to it, then I don't have a desire for it.

The holidays make people crazy with trying to find the "perfect" gift for everyone. Each of whom probably has everything they could possibly need. We spend endless amounts of time and money trying to please each other with stuff. This year I am thankful to say the family is going on a Christmas trip together rather than buying gifts. I can't tell you how stress free I feel knowing I don't have to hunt down the perfect gift(s) and not blow my budget.

This is the advice I offer you as we move into the holiday season. Spend time with the ones you love rather than aiming to please them with material goods. Take a trip, or if that's not in the budget, volunteer together. Maybe as a family you adopt a family in need and spend the money providing for others. If you must buy gifts, why not gift experiences like cooking classes, a painting party (you know...the ones that are BYOB lol), or if there are kids involved a trip to the zoo, the aquarium, or the movies. We all know movies are expensive! If a city near you offers a museum pass or membership that could be a good option for families.

If you choose to participate in the craziness that is Black Friday, may the odds be ever in your favor. Until next post...xoxo Becca

One more pieces of advise, spend wisely and within your means...

Friday, November 18, 2016

Breckenridge Vacation Guide

Breckenridge is by far one of the best places we have traveled to and today I am sharing where to stay, where to eat, and what to do. Whether you are traveling at the beginning of the season or towards the end, this town has a lot of history and everyone you meet is friendly.

Although I have only visited Breck in the winter, I have heard the area is beautiful during the summer as well. This vacation guide will focus on winter though since that's how I have experienced Breckenridge.

How to Get There
From Houston it is a quick flight into Denver. We rent a car in Denver and make the 2 hour drive through the mountains to Breckenridge. There are shuttle services available, but we like to have the rental for easy travel in and around Breck. The local Free Ride shuttle connects the resorts with the main street area and the perimeter of town if you'd rather shuttle in and then use the public transportation.

Where to Stay
Best accommodation experience has been at DoubleTree by Hilton Breckenridge. With so many people using airbnb these days you may have luck finding a great spot in or near town that fits your needs and budget. The DoubleTree had friendly staff and was dog friendly too! Upon arrival, valet staff greeted us, unloaded our luggage, and delivered it upstairs to the lobby. Valet parking only, fees are included in the cost of the hotel. Check-in was a breeze, the front desk staff was friendly and answered our initial questions.

The lobby features fireplaces (where we spent a lot of time relaxing), a restaurant (9600 Kitchen), a gift store, and a market with grab and go snacks, and an oxygen bar. Don't forget cookies ;) As I mentioned, this hotel is dog friendly. It was fun to see all the cute dogs come and go through the lobby.

The room was a great size and immaculately clean. I recommend staying on the 7th floor or lower, otherwise you have to take an elevator to the 7th floor, walk across the hotel to take a second elevator up to a higher floor.

Every night there are free s'mores and happy hour is offered twice a day at the restaurant. The hotel features an indoor pool, three hot tubs outside, saunas, and a fitness center. They also offer a shuttle to four stops along Main Street which is really convenient.

Equipment rentals are available and skiing...well it's right across the street! Use the ski valet and they'll deliver your equipment slope-side.

Where to Eat
Fan of breakfast food? If you have a morning or early afternoon flight into Denver I recommend Snooze AM Eatery. They have several locations, the location we visited was cute, trendy, with exceptionally friendly staff. AND they offer a pancake flight if you just can't decide :)

In Breckenridge, for breakfast Blue Moose is a great option. Every morning the parking lot was full. We go early to avoid waiting for a table. The food is good and fresh. The service was fast. Keep in mind this is a cash only place.

Other favorites of ours are:
Michael's Italian Restaurant - Highly recommend this place. Everyone I talked to recommends the white lasagna, but I'm not a seafood person.
Briar Rose Chophouse - Atmosphere, staff, food, and drinks are all great. I recommend the mac and cheese.
One place we haven't made it to, but heard is awesome is Crepes a la Cart on Main Street. If you try it please let me know what you thought in the comment section.

What to Do
Hitting the slopes is always popular, like I mentioned, DoubleTree has equipment rentals. A whole day (or two) can be spent skiing or snowboarding. If you're not into skiing it is always fun to sit at the bottom of the run and watch people come down. Other activities to check out are:

Snowmobiling & Dog Sledding - Last time I was there, a group of us made reservations at Good Times Adventures on the recommendation from others and we all had a blast on the snowmobile. The guide was funny, knew the history of the area, and got us to the peak first so we could enjoy the area and get great pictures before other groups arrived. While we didn't dog sled, the staff let us take pictures with the dogs waiting to go out.

Shopping - There is always shopping on Main Street!

Tubing - Short drive to Frisco Adventure Park. You can easily spend an afternoon tubing! When we went we were by far the oldest people without children, but it made you feel like a kid again!

Breckenridge Distillery - The distillery opened in 2007 and has expanded their product line and recently opened a cocktail bar and event space on location. Take a includes a tasting :)

Speakeasy Movie Theatre - Want to get out of the cold for awhile? See a movie at The Speakeasy.

Ice Skating - If a spin around the rink interests you, Stephen C. West Ice Arena has public ice skating.

Gondola - Gondolas aren't just for Venice! The BreckConnect takes you from town to the bases of Peak 7 and 8. It's a great way to see above the trees and it's free (but it does cost to park).

Loveland Pass - Scenic views going up and coming down as you travel to the Continental Divide.

I hope you make the trip and have a fantastic time! Until next post...xoxo Becca

This post is not sponsored by DoubleTree by Hilton Breckenridge or any of the companies/organizations, shops or restaurants I featured. These are my own opinions.

Monday, November 14, 2016

London Recap

Welcome back! If you haven't read the Paris Recap, start there first. Sunday we left Paris by train and made the two hour trip to London. Isn't it amazing you can move around Europe so quickly and easily? Not like that in the US! Especially in Texas. Two hours and you're barely out of Houston!

Our train arrived in Paris early afternoon and we met our airbnb host at a local hotel and walked to her apartment. She was a wonderful host and the apartment was in a great location, we could see the London Eye from the window and there are plenty of restaurants downstairs and along the Thames. That first afternoon we were interested in eating (fish 'n chips) and exploring the area we were staying in. Monday morning we had a reservation on the Thames Rocket (sightseeing by speedboat). Can you guess who booked this? The hubs of course lol It was a lot of fun and we enjoyed the tour guide, Little Mike, and skipper Nick. Little Mike was hilarious! Got some great pictures from the boat.

After the Thames tour we made the short walk from the London Eye to Westminster Abbey. Breathtakingly beautiful! No pictures allowed inside so exterior pictures only.

From Westminster Abbey we visited Winston Churchill's War Rooms which was very interesting. Learned a lot about Churchill and his contribution to the UK and the world. Walking through St. James Park we found ourselves at Buckingham Palace. After seeing Palace of Versailles, Buckingham was a little bit of a letdown, but great history all over the city!

The President of Columbia was visiting the Queen so the mall was colorful and welcoming.

The UK begins their daylight savings time about a week earlier than the US does, so the days were really short. In an attempt to fit it all in we took a taxi to Shakespeare's Globe Theater. Which is in fact a working theater with 2-3 shows per day. It was very interesting and even though it wasn't on our list of places to see I am very glad we went. The tour guide here was great as well! It's important to note this is not the original Globe as it was destroyed by fire in 1613. This replica was made possible by contributions from donors all over the world.

We walked "home" along the Thames and it was beautiful. The weather while we were in London was amazing and the cool, clear night walking along the River Thames will be a memory I cherish forever. Remember, it's the little things in life that give the most joy!

Unfortunately we wasted the next morning on a hop on, hop off bus. Because the Queen was entertaining the President of Columbia and London's every day traffic the bus didn't make it far. That afternoon we walked from Parliament through Hyde Park to Kensington Palace. It was the only day in London where the weather was cold and drizzly.

The King's Staircase

Dress worn by Princess Diana

Kensington Palace Gardens

Our last day in London we went to the Tower of London which has a very long and rich history. Plus it's where they store the Crown Jewels (no pictures allowed inside, but it was spectacular!). Our Yeoman Warder or "beefeater" tour guide, Dave, was fantastic; witty and full of stories about the Tower's history.

Beefeater Dave

After the tour we made our way outside to see the Tower Bridge one last time.

Then off to Kings Cross Station to see Platform 9 3/4. Had to visit for my sister-in-law. She may or may not have gotten a Platform 9 3/4 hoodie ;)

For our last night we moved to The Savoy hotel which was an experience of a lifetime. We we upgraded to a deluxe suite which was fit for a king! It was huge! If you followed me on snapchat then you saw the awesomeness of the suite. Thanks to the hub's parents we also got to experience The Lion King across the street at the theater.

We covered so much ground while there, but I know we didn't even scratch the surface of London. I would love to go back!

I hope you enjoyed the pictures from Paris and London and all our travels this year. It's been a lot of fun, but our trips are coming to an end. We have a family trip for Christmas to Jacksonhole, WY which I am really looking forward to.

Until next post...xoxo Becca

Friday, November 11, 2016

Friday Favorites: Thanksgiving Recipes

How many Thanksgiving events have you been invited to this year? Is one of them an office party? My personal favorite...friendsgiving? The age old question is, what should I bring? I have said it before and I will say it again, I am so thankful for Pinterest! There are some really great recipes out there to be tried. Need something different or special for your calendar full of turkey days? Here are a few I have been considering...

Slow Cooker Creamed Corn

Fall Harvest Salad w/ Pumpkin Maple Vinaigrette

Sweet Potato Casserole w/ Marshmallow and Pecan Streusel

Enjoy the time in the kitchen. Grab a bottle of wine and surround yourself with good friends and the cooking won't seem so large a task. London post coming on Monday! Until next post...xoxo Becca

Monday, November 7, 2016

Paris Recap

We're home! Our trip to Europe was a success, but the hubs and I are happy to be home. It was a long trip with lots of sightseeing and walking. To keep posts to a reasonable length I'm going to make it 2 parts, starting with Paris.

Flights there were good. We arrived on Thursday morning and were able to check into our hotel room early which was a blessing because we were exhausted despite having slept on the flight. Plus we had a view of the tip top of the Eiffel Tower (insert heart eyed emoji). Before arriving, the hubs purchased the Paris Pass which proved to be beneficial for the hop on hop off bus. We spent the majority of Friday touring the city this way and only getting off at the stops we wanted. Sidenote: We purchased the London Pass too so I'll share a post reviewing them both in case anyone is considering either. Saturday we ventured out early to Palace of Versailles which was breathtaking. Because of the size of the estate we spent the majority of the day there. Sunday we headed off to London by train (our first train ride ever!). Enjoy pictures from Paris...

Views from the hop on hop off bus...

Later that night we went back to the Eiffel Tower to see it sparkle.  I had read that the best viewpoint was from Palais de Chaillot, right across the Seine from the tower. It proved to be a great location!

Palace of Versailles

I was obsessed with the fall foliage and symmetrical lines of trees. 

Marie-Antoinette's Estate

London's post will come next Monday. Until next post...xoxo Becca