WEEKENDS

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On the weekends that I am in Arizona (or not completely swamped with school work) I always like to try out some new activity or restaurant. Most weekends I just feel like vegging out at home and doing something nearby, but this week I have been feeling the urge to travel. After having a completely unstructured month away from school, I don’t feel quite ready to settle down yet. Since a weekend trip out of the country isn’t the most practical thing, I came up with a list of nearby options:

Las Vegas – because I had the best cheesecake ever the last time I went and I really think I need more. 

California – because it feels like home to me.

Grand Canyon – because I have never been… and I live in arizona… I mean come on. 

California was my winner this time because the weather is supposed to be really nice, but I vowed to do each one of these at some point in the near future. I try and come up with new places to travel to, but since california is so close, that’s always an easy “go to” for me.

I stayed at a hotel on the harbor in downtown San Diego for the entire trip. I wanted to make sure we were in San Diego because that’s where tons of my favorite restaurants are. Then we made it up to Disney Land on Saturday and the weather was perfect (which made up for the insanely long lines). Before we went home on Sunday we ventured out to an old fruit stand that I’ve been going to ever since i was little (their strawberries are to die for… and still just as good). After that we went to del mar to sit on the beach and do a little shopping.

It was a short trip and I wish I could’ve stayed for another 15 weeks (until the semester is over) but it’s on to slower, and much busier, times.

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THE NEW YEAR

When I go back and think about 2016, I don’t necessarily jump up and down with excitement with how it played out. Until I started looking back, I didn’t quite realize that 2016 was one of the good years. Given, there were many rough patches, but I realize how truly blessed I have been. I’ve recently noticed that the hard stuff sometimes turns out to be the most important as well. Here are some of the things I have realized while reminiscing about the past twelve months (along with some resolutions):

  1. Returning back to college was tough (will that ever end?), but that went away quickly when I was reminded of all the wonderful people who surround me. Suddenly, what seemed to be a sad situation turned into gratefulness for all the happiness that is present in my life.  This year I am going to try and recognize more of these small joys that can be found everywhere in our world.
  2. I am on the executive board of one of the best student run organizations on campus at school. I plan an event for the top supply chain students from around the country and it’s stressful to say the least. I faced harsh criticism, powerful compliments, epic failures and triumphant success all in about the span of four days… and it was really tough for me (I may or may not have called my dad and cried my eyes out on the phone with him). But, I learned that these experiences make me stronger, teach me lessons and give me character.  This year I want to slow down and not take every little thing so seriously.
  3. School has never been my strongest suit. I’ve never felt particularly smart when it comes to academics. So when I went to college and people started talking about getting those dreaded internships prepared myself for the worst. This past summer I was lucky enough to get an internship with a company near Boulder, Colorado, but I just chalked that up to knowing the right people. This year was going to be harder, I just knew it. I interviewed with a few companies early in the fall semester and told myself that if I didn’t get anything, at least it was good practice, right? A few days later, I got a phone call, and a company named Abbott wanted me to join their team of interns! It wasn’t until a few days later that I realized, I actually worked really freakin’ hard to get that internship… I didn’t just get lucky. This year, I want to believe in myself more. 
  4. This one is simple and I’ve known it all along, But my family pretty much rocks. Being away from them kills me, but it’s also made me appreciate them way more than I used to.  This year I want my family to be more aware of how thankful i am for them. 
  5. A genuinely good person is a rare find these days. I notice it every time I do my grocery shopping, bike around on campus, deal with people on the phone and go out to dinner. It’s not hard to get mad at others and yell and be upset; we all do it! But I have recently realized that being a good person is not hard either. Beating cancer is hard, losing a loved one is hard, but simply being nice to others IS NOT HARD. You never know what kind of hidden battles people are fighting and the way you treat them could change the course of their day.  This year, I want to be a better person. 

I could go on forever and ever (and of course I have more resolutions, like eat healthy, work out 8 days a week and other things that will never happen). This year was good.

THE BEST SUGAR COOKIES

 

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Every year around the holidays I always love to have a big cookie bake with friends and family.  It’s always so fun to gather everyone together, listen to Christmas music and make lots of delicious treats.

For so long, my sister and I had been searching for the perfect sugar cookie recipe. All the recipes we’d tried were great tasting, but they never held the shape of the cookie cutter! after searching for so long, we finally found the most incredible (and simple) recipe.

It was actually from our mom’s Betty Crocker cookbook that she got for christmas from her mother when she was in middle school! I think that’s so cool. But now, it’s my go to recipe. I wanted to make sure I shared it on here so that my friends and family could have access to it (just in case that old torn book somehow gets tossed in the near future).

I decided to order some higher quality sprinkles, icing dyes and cutters from orson h. gygi  and it was totally worth it.

dry mixture

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

wet mixture

  • 3/4 cups shortening (i do half butter and half crisco)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (or 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract for a fun twist)

directions

  • cream together the shortening, sugar, eggs and flavoring. then blend in the flour mixture. cover and chill for at least 1 hour (but no more than about 2; it will start to get really hard).
  • preheat oven to 400. roll dough 1/8 inch thick on lightly floured cloth-covered board. then cut into desired shapes. transfer onto a non greased baking sheet and bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until very lightly brown.

*This recipe makes about 4 dozen 3 inch cookies.

LAS VEGAS

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In August, my dad, sister and I went to Las Vegas for a fun little trip together before I went back to school. For some weird reason, we all love going to vegas so much! Seeing shows, sitting by the pool, eating good food and spending good time together are all things we love to do.

The first night we got there ,we went and saw Absinthe at Caesars Palace and I must say it was amazing. We all agreed that it is our new favorite (and we have seen a ton of shows in vegas). This show is in a old school circus tent and it is comprised of a bunch of different cirque type acts with a mas amounts of vulgar comedy mix in throughout the show. I’ll admit, probably pretty of awkward to see with your typical parent. But, my dad is one of my best friends, so it wasn’t weird at all.

While we were there, I made a short little video. I mostly make these to share with  my kids in the future (I always thought it would be cool to show them what the world was like when i was growing up in it) but I figured I would share them here too!

 

 

 

TWELVE TRADITIONS

Right now I have a lot going on. Between school and work, it’s hard to find a moment to myself. With Thanksgiving in about two weeks, I frequently find myself thinking about all of the things I have to look forward to. Knowing that I get to see my family helps me get through busy times like this. Here are twelve traditions that I am looking forward to right now.

  1. Waking up and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade while making Thanksgiving dinner.
  2. Leaving Thanksgiving Dinner, stuffed full of good food, to go late night shopping with my sister.
  3. Cutting down a christmas tree at my grandma and grandpa’s house.
  4. Ice skating on the lake in my town.
  5. Going to a Broadway show with my sister and mom.
  6. Baking gingerbread cookies.
  7. Going to the movie theater with my mom, her boyfriend and my sister almost every night to watch literally every movie that is out.
  8. Wearing matching christmas pajamas with my sister on our late night christmas eve drive.
  9. Sitting by the fireplace with my dogs at night while listening to christmas music.
  10. Driving around the city to see christmas lights with my sister and dad.
  11. Opening presents and going to my grandparent’s house to see all of our family.
  12. Watching scary movies with my dad.

LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA

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This past spring, my mother, sister and I took a trip to La Jolla, California. My sister and I were born here and my mother lived here with my father for 16 years, so it’s a special place for all of us. Every time we go back, we kind of wished we still lived there.

It was so fun just to go on a girls trip with them. If you know me, you know my family members also double as my best friends; I am so lucky to have the kind of relationship I do with my father, mother and sister. I hope for nothing more than to have that kind of relationship with my children; I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

During the trip, we had the chance to celebrate my sister’s 22nd birthday and Mother’s Day! Here is a short video of our time there. It obviously consists of mostly eating at our old favorite restaurants and shopping… because what else would we do?

By the way, if you are visiting the area, you MUST go to Roberto’s. They have the best bean and cheese burritos in the entire world.