bake.sweat.create.

Adventures in the kitchen, in fitness and with glitter!


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Big Things in 2015!

What a holiday season it was for me! I spent over a week at home in MT for Christmas. There was a total of ten people staying at my parents’ home and it was a fun, full house. We ate, drank and celebrated, but more on that later.

Out for a long exploration around town on our action packed Christmas Eve!

Out for a long exploration around town on our action packed Christmas Eve!

We enjoyed our traditional fondue dinner on Christmas Eve and I found an awesome fondue recipe that wasn’t too “swiss-y”, my family isn’t a huge fan of the overly strong cheese. Well Plated had a delicious recipe!

Winter delivered with a beautiful white Christmas and we spent much of the day in our PJs, opening presents, of course eating and drinking mimosas!

Beautiful Christmas view of the backyard!

Beautiful Christmas view of the backyard!

The best part of the week was spending quality time with my family, siblings and their significant others and it was very special to celebrate with my future in-laws. That’s right – the BF is now my fiancé! Christmas Eve will forever be my favorite day of the year (until my wedding I suppose). We are ecstatic and so excited to start this wonderful new part of our relationship. Having our families there was so special and made for quite a memorable week!

We rounded out our holiday season celebrating with close friends at a lake house we rented at a near by lake back in Virginia. A two-night stay celebrating the new year and our new engagement was a perfect close to 2015!

Closing out 2014!

Closing out 2014!

I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings! Hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday season! Best wishes in 2015, I’m back in action now with lots of DIY projects on the horizon!

MtChristmas_InstaCollage

The most memorable Christmas celebration yet!

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Family Outing!

About three years ago my family got together and decided we were going to make an effort to take a few days every summer and rendezvous at a location chosen by one of the five core members of our family. My mother chose the first year and we went to Montana, Flathead Lake to be exact. This summer, it was my dad’s turn, he chose Montana, Glacier National Park in particular. Creative, I know, but there’s nothing like Montana. We spent many a childhood summer nights at Glacier, mostly in Apgar or Fish Creek campgrounds, climbing through trails and trekking up the Going to the Sun highway. This time around we forged a new path and went to the east side of the park to East Glacier. My dad found a great lodge that we stayed in, close to the entrance of the park and easy access to the trails.

Our first hike was an ambitious path up Ptarmigan Tunnel. We went up over 5 miles and through the tunnel, then over to the other side checking out Elizabeth Lake and sky-scraping mountains. It was almost 12 miles round trip! The most exciting part came in the first 1/2 mile. Bear spray in tow, we started out on the trail and ran into a group abruptly stopped, they were spying on a small black bear rummaging through the bushes for food. It was no more than 20-30 feet off the trail and didn’t notice us. We kept our eye out for a mother bear the entire time but luckily didn’t encounter any other bears. After a few pictures we kept on trucking up the mountain, towards the tunnel.

View from the frontside of Ptarmagin Tunnel.

View from the frontside of Ptarmigan Tunnel.

The huckleberry ice cream sure tasted good at the bottom! Huckleberries are an amazing summertime treat in Montana, we even managed to find a patch on our drive home, between four of us we picked over 7 cups in less than 30 minutes, jackpot! We also ran into a traffic jam on our way out of the park, people were gathered on both sides of the road with binoculars and cameras out taking pictures of a giant grizzly bear on the mountain side. It was far away enough not to be threatening, but close enough to see how giant the bear would have been up close. Two bears in two days, Glacier treated us well!

Success at the bottom of the trail!

Success at the bottom of the trail!

Next summer, it’s my brother’s turn to choose… we’re going to Montana.


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Toronto Wedding Weekend

I am back from a whirlwind weekend across the boarder. It was a great celebration with my boyfriend’s family of his cousin and his bride. We flew to Toronto’s City Center airport, a small airstrip by Porter Airlines. I had a great view of the skyline on the ferry from the island airport to the mainland. It’s a convenient and scenic way to fly into the city. We then navigated north of the city to Viamede Resort on Lake Stoney. It is in beautiful central Ontario cottage country and was nestled right on the lake.

A couple snaps from the weekend.

A couple snaps from the weekend.

Perfect weather followed us all weekend. We had a bonfire, complete with s’mores on Friday night. Saturday morning I did a nice trail run with my BF’s cousin, she led us along the frisbee-golf course and through the hilly trails around the resort. It was a challenging run but really nice to mix it up running the trails as opposed to the streets of Madison. We canoed around the lake and went swimming before getting dolled up for the evening.

The bride and groom had a remarkable outdoor wedding right on the lake on Saturday, followed by dinner and dancing. Sunday morning came too quickly and before I knew it I was headed back to Chicago. One amazing detail at the wedding reception were the centerpieces. The groom’s mother, an accomplished artist, handmade the ceramic boats on all 12+ tables. They were gorgeous!

Ceramic boat complete with home-grown grass!

Ceramic boat complete with home-grown grass!

She customized each boat in line with the theme of each table, each a different country where the wedding pair had taken a trip. My boyfriend’s parents were lucky enough to take one home, after purchasing one from the artist. It was a memorable weekend and a great time catching up with my BF’s extended family I hadn’t seen like about 2 years!

 

 


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#TBT and Good News!

In honor of #ThrowBackThursday I am sharing a photo of me and my brother with our significant others during a trip my BF and I made to Boston in 2012. The trip was originally planned around the men’s lacrosse NCAA Final Four but when Virginia did not qualify, the visit with my little bro became extended. It was a packed-weekend, a Red Sox game, a jaunt to the Samuel Adams Brewery and Hyannis on Cape Cod and lots of quality time catching up.

Fenway Park // Boston, MA // 2012

Fenway Park // Boston, MA // 2012

This #TBT is an extra special memory because my brother proposed to his GF this past weekend and they are now ENGAGED! I am so happy and excited for my brother, he has make extraordinary advances in his career and maturity in the last three to four years and I know she has been instrumental in that growth. They are wonderful together and I am so thrilled to welcome her into our family.

Now it’s almost the weekend and I can’t wait for some R&R after all my recent trips and travel!


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First #ThrowBackThursday

I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic lately. I don’t know if it is the time of year, the state of chaos I feel around me or that I am counting down the days to my Cape Cod vacation at the end of the month. Whichever way it shakes out, I do get to see my baby brother at the end of the month and check out his Boston pad. And in honor of that, I am indulging in my first #ThrowBackThursday.

Miller Siblings

The Miller Siblings

I have this photo labeled as 1995 in my files but there is no chance this version of me is nearly a decade old, but it still makes me smile today to look back on me and my siblings at our younger ages. One more day until the weekend, whew!