Why Hosting a Cookie Swap is the Ultimate Holiday Party

What goes hand in hand with the holidays? Cookies. Growing up in my neighborhood, all of the families would exchange gifts with each others. Each family always stuck to the same gifts to give and it always worked out because there would be no duplicates. My mom always went the cozy route and got throw blankets, cute mugs, and hot cocoa for the neighbors. As amazing as my mom’s neighbor gifts were, the absolute best was from my neighbors down the block. Every year they would make the most amazing Christmas Cookies and deliver them on the most aesthetically pleasing tray. My sister and I would fight over our favorite cookies, every year.

I don’t know if you ever had a neighbor who makes the best Christmas Cookies or maybe you are the Christmas Cookie Neighbor, but what goes without saying is the home made cookies and the holidays are like two peas in a pod.

If you are hosting a holiday party or holiday get together with friends or family this year, not only should plan a unique activity, but you should absolutely host a cookie swap!

What is a Cookie Swap?

A Cookie Swap is the ultimate way to get all the cookies you’ve ever dreamed of. So how does it work? Invite all your friends over for a holiday party and instruct each to make 2 dozen (or any suitable amount for the people attending) of their absolute favorite cookies. They can be bought, but it makes it so much better is every brings their own home-made holiday cookies. The night of the party everyone brings their cookies and sits them all on a table. Each guest will take a turn going through the cookies table and creating their own holiday cookie platter! Essentially you are bringing a lot one one cookie, and leaving with a bunch of amazing cookies including a few of your own!

4 Reasons Why You Should Host a Cookie Swap

1. It is so much FUN!

Hosting a cookie swap is one of the most fun events you could host. Plus think of how amazing your house will smell with all the incredible cookies in one room! Hosting a holiday party in general is fun because of the decorating, the good vibes, the holiday cheer, and of course having all the ones you love under your roof at the same time. What also makes a cookie swap the most fun holiday party is that the fun starts long before the party even begins. Half of the fun for the guests is making holiday cookie classics or researching on Pinterest or Instagram to find a new creative recipe to try.

2. Guests leave with a tray full of cookies!

Guests have a beautiful tray of cookies at the end of the day. As a host, you should provides tons of material for wrapping the tray like cellophane and ribbon. After each guests makes their own holiday cookie tray, they can wrap it however they like. They will also be able to do whatever they would like with this awesome gift. Guests can use the holiday cookie tray as a dessert for Chirstmas dinner. They can use it as a gift to give someone. They can bring it home and immediately have a Christmas Movie night and eat all the amazing cookies with their family.

3. It’s a great excuse to get your Betty Crocker on!

Making time to these days seems like a very daunting task. Work, friends, family, commitments, and everything in between seem to take up all the time that we were once able to spend on ourselves. Hosting a Cookie Swap means you and all your guests have to schedule in some me-time to your hectic schedules to bake. While baking can come naturally to some and is an acquired skill for others, it is still fun to throw on your apron and channel your inner Betty Crocker. No matter your baking skill or level, it is enjoyable to get creative and bake some delicious cookies from time to time.

4. It’s an amazing tradition!

Cookie Swaps are something to look forward. After hosting a cookie swap, your guests will be waiting for year 2 the moment they leave. I know people who plan their cookies out months in advance and even try different recipes months before the actual cookie swap date. It really is a great tradition with friends and family.

7 Unique Holiday Party Activity Ideas

So you’re looking to liven up your holiday party… You can be with family or friends, but the key to having a great holiday party and not just a good holiday party is what you have planned as the host! You don’t want your holiday party to get looped into the classic boring nothing special…

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So, You’re Planning to Snowboard for the First Time. Here’s What You Need to Know.

I picked up snowboarding in the beginning of 2021. It is a sport that has the ability to suck you in very quickly and leave you wanting more, even if you end up on your butt for the majority of your day learning how to snowboard. There’s something special about being at what seems like the top of the world and floating down with all this beauty of nature around you. It’s also an adrenaline pumping sport that can have you moving at fast speeds and performing some pretty cool tricks. If you are just starting out, take your time getting to the adrenaline pumping part of the sport and make sure you take the time to master the fundamentals!

However you stumbled upon snowboarding, it’s very exciting to prepare for your first snowboarding trip. There’s mental prep to complete and there’s also a lot of packing that needs to be done, so let’s get right into!

What to Expect When You Snowboard for the First Time.

When you watch professional snowboarders do their thing, they make it look effortless and easy. Fair warning, it can take some time to really get comfortable being on your edge. When you snowboard for the first time it is important to understand than it is ok if you fall. It’s ok if you feel weird being on a snowboard, you are learning something new. It takes time to adjust and get comfortable with the feeling and to start to feel comfortable being attached to the snowboard.

At the beginning of the day you can expect to :

  • Have some trouble getting of the lift
  • Fall a few times
  • Learn how to stand up after you fall this is so incredibly important
  • Be nervous around some of the other riders on the mountain
  • Fell a little anxious about going down the mountain the first time

And every single one of those things are ok! Remember you’re learning snowboarding for the first time, it’s a new skill you have to master. Going in with the mindset that you are learning and it’s ok to fail is so important. It’s sad to see people give up on snowboarding because they don’t get it on day 1 or even on run 1. Knowing that you have a lot to learn and you are ready to learn it all is a necessary mindset for you to have when you snowboard for the first time.

At the end of the day you can expect to :

  • Start to feel comfortable on one or both of your edges
  • Know how to make it down beginner terrain with a limited number of falls
  • Have had so much fun learning that you’re ready to get back out for day 2
  • Build up a little confidence on a snowboard to maybe explore some new terrain

Packing for Your First Snowboarding Trip

Now that you know what to expect, let’s get into what you need to bring. These are not exhaustive lists and frankly there may be some items missing. These lists can be used as a guide or inspiration when packing for your own snowboarding trip.

Packing List for Snowboarding Gear

  1. Top Base Layer
  2. Top Mid Layer
  3. Bottom Base Layer
  4. Snowboard or Ski Jacket
  5. Snowpants
  6. Ski Socks
  7. Beanie
  8. Gloves or Mitts
  9. Neck Warmer

    If you aren’t renting equipment, don’t forget :
  10. Snowboard
  11. Snowboard Boots
  12. Boot Bag
  13. Helmet
  14. Goggles

Packing List for Apres Ski

  1. Leggings or Sweats
  2. Hoodie
  3. Comfortable Outfits
  4. Heavier Winter Coat
  5. Comfortable Boots/Sneakers
  6. Hat
  7. Gloves
  8. Scarf

Random Things Worth Bringing

  1. Hand Warmers
  2. Extra Socks
  3. Extra Dry Clothes
  4. Headphones
  5. Bath Mat (for boot changes in the parking lot)
  6. Chapstick

Helpful Tips for When You Snowboard for the First Time

Now that you know what to expect and what to bring on your first snowboarding trip, let’s get into some helpful tips that will help you make the best of your time on the mountain!

  1. Understand that it’s ok to fall down.
  2. Don’t feel pressure to go to expert terrain right off the rip. Start on green trails to get your bearings and then advance as you feel comfortable.
  3. Do not just bomb down the hill, learn how to stop and control your speed. This is necessary before going on longer trails for safety reasons.
  4. Take a private lesson from the mountain and not from your friend group. The instructors are professionals and there is less pressure to perform. You’ll learn more from an instructor than you will from a friend.
  5. Watch snowboarding videos on YouTube before you head to the mountain. Knowing what proper form looks like can help you have your “aha” moment sooner.
  6. Follow instructional snowboarding accounts on Instagram. Tommie Bennett ( @tommieb1 ) is an amazing resource for all snowboarders, both new learning to ride and intermediate/advanced riders looking to progress.
  7. Get ready for an awesome time!

Snowboarding is a great sport if you only go once a year or if you go 100 days a year. The most important thing to remember is that everyone learns at their own pace. Some may pick up the sport quick, while it may take multiple trips and lessons for others to feel comfortable on a snowboard. Don’t get discouraged if others are picking up snowboarding faster than you and don’t get a hot head if you are learning the sport quicker than others.

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5 Reasons Why December is the Best Month of the Year

Before getting into this, I need to preface that I am a born-again winter lover. I grew up despising the cold weather. Every time the weather would drop and get colder, I instantly dreamed of leaving the Northeast and going to a tropical location to lay on the beach. The cold wind, snow, and frost bite were my worst enemies.

But let’s be real, December gets a really bad rap.. It’s the end of the year, work gets busy then it gets slow, stress levels go through the roof, it’s quite possibly the highest spending month for a lot of people. That’s just naming a few reasons. You’re probably thinking there’s no way December is the best month of the year, but I truly believe it is.

Flash forward to today, I get a sick sense of enjoyment when December comes around! Keep reading and I’ll tell you more about the 5 reasons why December is the Best Month of the Year.

5 Reasons Why December is the Best Month of the Year

It Marks the End of a Cycle.

December draw conclusion to the past 11 months that come before it. It’s a time for reflection and also a time for action. December is the ultimately planning month – What do you want your New Year to look like? Anything like the year before? Or maybe even something totally different? The beautiful thing, you get to choose what you do. December is the best month of the year because you get to create change during this month, the anticipation is building for the New Year and all the goals you want to accomplish are planned out during this time.

New Years Resolutions aren’t decided in January, they’re decided in December with the actionable start date in January. New Years Resolutions are part of what makes reflecting on the end of the past year so valuable. You can leave things behind in December and be very selective with what you take into January. December being an end of a cycle means it’s a time for change, welcoming change, embracing change, and not be afraid of change. It really is a powerful time!

Winter Sports are in Full Swing.

By December, most mountains are open in some capacity and working towards 100% trail availability. That means dusting off the skis, snowboards, snowshoes, toboggans, whatever winter sport of your choosing and getting outside and to the mountains. Although most mountains declare opening dates in November, early season riding is typical pretty shot… There’s very limited trails open. It tends to be very crowded because everyone is trying to get their early season fix. Theres ice at least in the North East everywhere. Riding really isn’t that enjoyable in November, it’s more about saying you went than it is really enjoying yourself.

But in comes December, the best month of the year – More trails are open, snow accumulation and snow blowing are at their peak. The cold temperatures are finally starting to settle in. You’re finally able to enjoy a few hours of riding before the trails ultimately become unrideable. In December, you finally get to start to enjoy winter sports for the year.

The Holidays are the Most Cheerful Time of Year.

Claiming their stake in December are some of the best holidays of the year. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Years Eve all typically take place during the best month of the year. This is a time to embrace family and celebrate your beliefs. The holidays are a great excuse to spend a little extra time with those you love the most. Whether it’s a meal, a holiday tradition, or just a quick meet up for dessert, any and all holiday get togethers are great for the soul. The lights, the music, the movies all come together to create the most cheerful loving atmosphere you could ever imagine. Love and happiness really fill the air – from malls, to neighborhoods, to schools holiday decorations and cheer can be seen and can instantly change you mood for the better.

The holidays are not always about gift giving, even though there is typically a lot of focus on that. During December, it’s easy to get lost in the giving and receiving aspect of the holidays, but the real reason is so much more than the face value. Gifting presents to our loved ones is about showing how much you appreciate them and love having them around. It’s not to show off how much money you have or brag about gifts you received. It’s one big “Thank You for being a part of my life.” December serves as the reminder every year to spend time with those you love the most and to not be afraid to share how you feel.

It’s the Best Weather to Stay Indoors.

Yes, it’s important to stay active and move around but December is a time to sit back and relax. As much as I personally would love to be out snowboarding every day in the winter, there’s something special about sitting inside, starting a fire, and watching the cheesiest Christmas Movie ever created. Lighting a fire, drinking hot chocolate, and cuddling up with your dog or cat is always a perfect December night.

With it being the end of the year, it’s okay to relax a bit. December marks the end of a 12-month cycle and it’s ok to give back some time to yourself. The past 11 months were likely filled with hard work, a little bit of stress, maybe an event that shifting life as you know it. Taking some time to hide from the cold weather that’s brewing inside is literally what the month of December is made more. It’s really a perfect time to start journaling, meditating, and embracing any practice of self-love. While the sun rises later and sets earlier, there’s a lot more time in the day where you can sit back, enjoy the great outdoors and prioritize you time over anything else. That’s on science from this one, the timing of the sun rise and sunset (although slightly depressing) makes December a pretty unique month.

Cold Weather Means More Layers.

Maybe this is a personal one, but I love jackets. I have way too many for my own good and honestly forget how many I have every year when I take them out for the season, and yet I still buy more every year. It’s a problem but I’m admitting it. I think a jacket adds so much to an outfit and there’s certain jackets you can only wear when it gets super cold. December just gives you more options to make a fashion statement and to play around with your own personal style. Jackets are just as much a part of a winter outfit than the pants and the shirt!

Hats, Fuzzy socks, and over sized hoodies are another reason why dressing in December is so amazing. The acceptance of comfort for fashion is embraced in December and means it’s ok to not get all done up every day. Wearing sweats? acceptable. Wearing a beanie all day? acceptable. It’s the little things that make December so great including winter fashion!

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7 Unique Holiday Party Activity Ideas

So you’re looking to liven up your holiday party… You can be with family or friends, but the key to having a great holiday party and not just a good holiday party is what you have planned as the host! You don’t want your holiday party to get looped into the classic boring nothing special category of holiday parties, so you have to come up with unique ways to entertain your guests.

With holiday party season in full swing, nows the time to make sure you are fully prepared to remembered as best holiday party of the year. Here at 7 Unique holiday party activities that are bound the leave your guests with amazing memories!

Christmas Charades

Charades is the ultimate party game – running though three rounds 1. Describe the Word 2. Act the Word with no Speaking 3. Only allowed to use 1 word. Complete this classic party game by instructed guests that they can only fill in Christmas-themed ideas. Some great ones can be – Buddy the Elf, Ginger Bread Man, Snow Storm, Christmas Tree, Die Hard. This is sure to get laughs and get everyone involved!

Spontaneous Secret Santa

Ambush your guests with a Spontaneous Secret Santa, Ask guests to come over at a specific time, have all the names already loaded into a bowl ( or Santa hat) for them to choose from. Upon picking, guests will have 1 hour to go out and pick up a $20 (or any value, but it’s more fun with less money because you get some funny gifts!). This means guests have to race around town to find a unique gift. Have a “wrapping station” already set up with bags, tissue paper, wrapping paper, and bows so when guests return from the mad dash, they get right to wrapping! Plan to open the gifts right before the meal is to be served for a seamless transition and endless conversation.

Christmas Cooke Decorating Contest

Have some homemade dough pre-made and have guests cut the dough into shapes with cookie cutters or make their own cookies to cook. Half the fun is seeing how the cookies shape out after being in the oven. After dinner when the cookies cool, invite the guests to decorate their creation with icing, sprinkles, candies, anything you want! Host an anonymous ranking of the cookies ( 1 – 10, or how ever many guests their are without counting your own cookie in the rankings, then average the selections and announce your winner!). Add a bit of fun and have a small grand prize or funny trophy for the winner!

Ping Pong Ball Challenge

Use a spare table and attached red solo cups to one end, just hanging off the edge. Assign each cup with a prize, it can be a gag gift, money, lotto tickets, or even coal! Have guests stand on the far end from the table away from the cups to take turns rolling the ping pong balls. You can pick the order how ever you’d like – drawing numbers, youngest to oldest, etc. Have each person Roll 3 ping pong balls across the table and try to land them in one of the red solo cups. Don’t let the players see what each cup’s prize is! Some ping pong balls won’t make it to the cup, others will fall off the table. To add complexity, give each player a straw and they much blow the ping pong ball to the other side of table! Regardless of the way you set up the game, this is bound to give endless laughs and hysterical memories for years to come.

Fluffy Snowman

A take on the age old classic “Fluffy Bunny.” Prepare for this game by purchasing all the bags of marshmallows that your grocery store has in stock, kidding but also not really kidding. The purpose of the game is to put as many marshmallows in your mouth as possible. One at a time guests have to place one marshmallow at a time in their mouth, after each additional marshmallow the player must say “I’m a Fluffy Snowman.” The count continues until the player can no longer clearly state “I’m a Fluffy Snowman.” This game is not only hysterical, but all aged guests can play from kid to adult making this great for family holiday parties. You can add a twist to this by adding a betting feature – having guests place wagers on who will win, or over/under on the what the amount of max marshmallows will be.

Adult TikTok Challenge

This one is specifically for family holiday parties with kids or friend-based holiday parties with kids. Kids now a days know what seems to be hundreds of TikTok dances by heart. At the start of your party, separate the kids names on sheets on paper in one bowl and the adult names in the other. Select groups (however you need to divide, 1 kid to 2 adults, 1 kid to 3 adults, etc.) by pulling names out of the bowls. The groups will have 20 minutes to learn a TikTok dance of the child’s choosing, the kids must teach the adults and plan out the best performance. After 20 minutes the groups will take turns performing their dances for the entire group, while being filmed. After each performance, only one take!, the videos will be posted to TikTok of the child’s account. The group with the most likes by the time dessert starts or the designated time chosen, will win! have a small prize or trophy ready for the winning dance group.

Christmas Carole Competition

For the creatives out there, this is for your holiday party. Have each guest write down their favorite song or a song they can’t get out of their head, have them place all the songs into a bowl. Break Up the guests into small teams of 2 or 3, or however many makes sense. Have each group pick one song from the bowl, yes their will be more songs in the bowl than the amount chosen. This helps keep the song that each group picks as surprise to the other players. With the selected song, the group much re-write the lyrics to be a Christmas of holiday themed song. Give each team a hour or so to brainstorm a new title, chorus, and refrain for the song. Each group should be ready to preform at the time deadline and get ready to spread that holiday cheer!

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10 Random Quotes That I Love

10 Random Quotes I Love For No Specific Reason

Wordsmith-ing is something that I love, but it really does take some years off my life putting words together at times. It’s why I love quotes so much. There are some pretty incredible people out there who said some even more amazing things that really make me 1. think these people are in my head and 2. not have to put together words in moments that’s it’s insanely difficult too.

There’s so many reasons why you would need to be searching for a quote – it could for inspo to add to a card you’re writing, or to try to put words to your feelings when you are struggling to even think straight like after or a break-up or a sudden loss, or even moments when you could be experience immense joy and happiness is taking over. Quotes always seem to put words to situations or emotions that we might not be able to process in the moments. Quotes can also be a way to remind us of memories, good or bad, and relive the experiences that are associated with them.

If you’re looking for quotes for a specific reason like Instagram Post Captions or Motivation Quotes, you should check those two links out. If you’re just looking to read a couple random quotes that I love and bring back all the feels for me personally, then keep reading. Who knows it may spark some memories and emotions for you too.

10 Random Quotes I Love

Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards.

Navy SEAL Creed

Sometimes things for apart, so that better things can fall together.

Marilyn Monroe

There may be people who have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do – and I believe that. I love it when people doubt me.

Derek Jeter

I don’t have to chose between high fashion or streetwear. My brand reminds me that it doesn’t have to fit in a box. It can just be in a gray area.

Virgil Abloh

The worst thing in life is not to end up all alone. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone.

Robin Williams

When you have a dream, you have to grab it and never let it go.

Carol Burnett

Keep you face always towards the sunshine, and shadows will fall behind you.

Walt Whitman

The hardest thing to do is to be true to yourself. especially when everybody is watching.

Dave Chappelle

You have brains in you head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

Dr. Suess

Enjoy the best things in your life, ’cause you ain’t gonna live it twice. They say you waste time asleep, but I’m just trying to dream.

Mac Miller

There it is. 10 amazing, absolutely random quotes.

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6 Christmas Gifts That Don’t Cost Anything

2022 has been a very interesting year – As a country, we’ve been battling inflation, a possible housing bubble, and gas prices soaring through the roof. As the holidays, more specifically gifting, can be a very financially heavy burden for most on a normal year, this year is even more so of a reach for many people and families. With prices rising for every day goods, major layoffs at major companies taking place, and cost of living continuing to rise with the stock market falls, it’s not the ideal time to be spending money of gifts and items that may not get used or loved as you would want them to.

With this year being different and an emphasis of cost effectiveness, I thought it would be helpful to put together a list of some Christmas or Holiday gifts that don’t cost anything (or anything additional to your typical day to day costs 🙂 ). If you’re looking for a way to celebrate the season and show your loved ones you care about them without breaking the bank, here are some ways to share Christmas cheer without spending a single dime.

Host a White Elephant Gift Exchange with Only Items You Currently Own

We all have a backlog of things and stuff hanging around our houses – in the basement, attic, stuffed in closets, you name it! Why not find something you no longer use that maybe someone else will love. You can set an estimated value minimum and maximum so people aren’t gifting an oven mitt and then a flat screen TV… Get all your friends together and do a gift exchange with the items! You never know what may be valuable to someone else. If you want to take it to the next step, make the event a potluck and have each guest bring a dish for the meal or appetizer.

Go on a Hiking Trip with Friends

No gift can beat quality time with friends. Instead of buying gifts, have your friend group take PTO (so you get paid) or align on a mutual day off from work and meet up for a hike at a local park! If you’re feeling adventurous you can even travel to a further destination, which may cost more in gas, but could make the day more of an event than just going down the street. Enjoy the beautiful scenery around you while taking in the great conversations and laughs with friends. Experiences for gifts and giving time as a gift are too very overlooked items!

Make a Photo Collage

I don’t know about you but I have an overwhelming amount of old pictures from high school and college hanging around my house. Remember back in the days when you got doubles and duplicates of all pictures, well I still have all of them and I’m sure you have quite a bunch too. Going through the old images and piecing together a collage or story board with the images is a great gift to give to long time friends. If you’re looking to spend a little bit you can always run to TJ Maxx and pick up a frame to store the images in. It’s always great to revisit memories around the holidays.

Gift a Plant

The pandemic produces more plant moms than ever before. I know I steered clear of the plant trend, but my mother 100% fell victim. This one is for her – She split up all her plants and gifted them to teachers at her school. Not a bad idea for a Christmas gift right? If you have an overwhelming number of plants and need to share the love, Christmas is a great time to share the gifts of plants with a friend.

Agree to No Gift

There’s nothing wrong with skipping a year of holiday gifts with friends or family. If you are saving for something or tight on cash, don’t be afraid to skip presents. You can even suggest doing a Christmas in July which can allow for more time to get yourself in good financial standing to allow for gifts!

Hand Written Note

Sentimental gifts can be the most expensive of them all. Taking the time to write a hand written note is a great way to share a heartfelt gift with a loved one during the holiday season. You can write notes to your most cherished family and friends as a way to recall amazing memories with them and discuss the plans you have for the future with them. Explaining why they are such a valuable part of your life is another angle you can take in the hand written note.

You can make the note as short or as long as you like. I personally love saving hand written notes to have them to look back on in the future. Even adding a handwritten note to any gift is a nice personal touch!

There are always ways to have a cost conscious holiday gifting season. I hope these few ideas can help!

The Best Last Minute Gifts | Holiday Gift Guide 2020

Alright, I get it. Not everyone gets their holiday shopping done in August… Trust me, I know. I used to be the person who went out on December 23rd to buy gifts that were to be opened on Christmas Eve. Note : I am a recovered procrastinator, I’ve managed to finish all my Christmas shopping…

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A Weekend at Stratton Mountain Resort

It’s officially snowboarding season and ya girl is through the roof! Opening weekend for Stratton Mountain Resort in Vermont was Friday, November 25th. So you better believe, we took off early Black Friday morning and headed right up to the condo at the mountain. Is it too early to say it will be my second home this winter? Probably not.

It was my first time at Stratton Mountain and I loved it. For an east coast mountain it had the cutest little town that really reminded me of the mountains out west that I visited. Obviously, no where near the size of Vail Village or Beaver Creek but still as adorable and enjoyable to walk through.

The Good

  1. Parking was not bad
    Being that it is early season, this is no surprise. From the condo, we would typically take a shuttle to the homeowner’s lodge but with the little traffic we were able to score parking in the garage so no need for a shuttle.
  2. The food is next level
    We ate a few different places in the village – The deli has incredible sandwiches and an awesome craft beer selection. The main cafeteria at the Base Lodge has quite possibly the biggest salads you could image. It also has delicious soups and noodle bowls, which is the absolute perfect winter day meal. I was shocked for how great the food was given the typical quality you expect from mass food service venues – but Stratton Mountain Resort proved that wrong! The sushi place also looked amazing and will be a stop next trip.
  3. Sunday was empty
    If you could imagine a private mountain, that’s what Sunday was. Everyone had left with looming rain, but it held off. We had an amazing day riding with spring-skiing like conditions and little to no crowds anywhere on the resort.

The Bad

  1. Ice Everywhere
    This is expected, but it still needs to be mentioned. Conditions on Saturday were awful, but it was still incredible to be out of the mountain so in reality it wasn’t that bad.
  2. Minimal Trails Open
    There were only a handful of trails open. Again, totally standard with early season but still doesn’t mean it would have been better if there was more snow! It was imperative to get out there early to get runs on the trails before all the snow was inevitably skiied off. They did have 2 park features available, which I wasn’t expecting. (This is the year I’m tackling more of the park).
  3. We had to Leave Sunday Night
    We would of loved to stay another day or two, but my dumb self left my computer on Long Island so I could truly disconnect from work and Ian had a busy day with clients on Monday. With snow on the forecast for this week, I’m thinking another trip up will be in our future real soon.

The Trip – Long Island to Stratton Mountain Resort

I wasn’t only counting down the days to this trip for almost a month, but I was geeking out the entire time. I started snowboarding two years ago and there was a point where I never wanted to step on a snowboard again very shortly after I started. With my friends and family I was able to get over the hurdle and continue this sport that I picked up quickly and fell in love with even quicker. To sum it up, snowboarding has a special place in my heart and I genuinely enjoy getting out to the mountains and getting batter whenever I can.

We left Sunday, later then we anticipated, which is pretty on brand. We packed up the cats and heading up to Vermont. There was not much traffic for Black Friday, even by the malls, so the drive up was pretty pleasant. We found this really silly question generator for couples that kept us laughing and entertained when the trip got a little boring. I think the cats had more fun on the road trip than we did. They were climbing around the truck and cuddling with us, then going back and hanging with each other in the backseat. It was adorable and they were incredible in the car, it makes sense because Ians been traveling with them since they were little kittens.

We made it to the mountain and had a little family dinner before getting to bed to try and get first chair! …We naturally didn’t get first chair but we tried our best. When we got to the mountain on Saturday it was pretty packed, but we have the blessing of using the home owners lodge and it was great to be able to escape the crowds and relax when needed.

We mainly took the gondola up but occasionally hit the 6er chairlift that only went halfway up the mountain. After 4 or 5 runs we grabbed lunch at the deli and hung out in the village before returning to the mountain for the afternoon. The food was incredible highly recommend. We were on the mountain until about 3pm, which was when we took a run that was like sliding down a hockey rink on a mountain – so we called it a day. It seemed that everyone else was on the same page. We grabbed a drink at the base camp lodge bar, which was clearly a hot spot, and watching the people still out on the mountain coming back to the base after their final runs for the day.

Ian and I met up with my friend Frank on the mountain and after the drinks at the lodge, we headed over to the village for some shopping and browsing. If anyone has a connect for a grey fuzzy bucket hat let a girl know! Check it out on the shelf in the second picture!! I fell in love with this hat, but didn’t end up getting it and I immediately regretted the decision. We ended up at Mulligan’s for some beers and snacks before heading home for the night.

Sunday was a slow start for sure, but we made it to the mountain and the conditions were drastically better than the day before. We were ripping! I don’t even know how many runs we got in, but it was non stop until it started raining and we called it a day. It was super slushy and very reminiscent of spring riding which I loved. At the end of the day, it was an incredible trip and one awesome way to kick start the 2022/2023 season! I’m exciting for putting this Stratton season pass to use, but I will be at Stowe before I’ll be back at Stratton this year, so expect another trip update from further north in Vermont in the next week or so!

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Weekend Trip to new Jersey, Trip to New Jersey, Point Pleasant Vacation, Point Pleasant Weekend Trip

A Weekend in Point Pleasant New Jersey

As a weekend trip enthusiast, I am traveling more often than not and typically insanely busy. I am super lucky that Ian likes to adventure as much as me, if not more! He is always down for spontaneous trips and finding the best things to do while we’re there. FYI – I highly recommend finding a best friend and travel buddy in your partner.

We always try to make the most of our weekend trips and turn them into little date nights. As a chronic over-worker with 3 jobs (me) and a successful business owner (Ian), we always put work first and sometimes spend a bit too much time focusing on making money. But whenever we can spend some time without work we make sure it is 100% used for us time. It makes every date night and trip so much more fun because we are 100% committed to it being for us and nothing else! Even when we travel, we try to leave work out of it. That’s exactly what we did in Point Pleasant!

A few weeks ago we found ourselves heading down to the Jersey Shore to visit my Sister, Brother-in-law, and niece & nephew. This was a bit of an unplanned trip but we had a fun-filled weekend of exploring, trying new food, and hanging with family.

First stop when we made the trip to New Jersey, was naturally Last Wave Brewing Co. With my brother-in-law being the head brewer, it’s pretty much the go-to spot when we visit. They had some incredible season brews, all pie themed, as well as Ian’s favorite from the trip, Cranito, a cranberry sour. We played some Chutes and Ladders (dinosaur edition) with the kiddos at Last Wave, naturally letting them win since my nephew is a bit of a sore loser.

While the kids went to bed, Ian and I took advantage of the free time to grab some dinner, just us. From my sister’s recommendation, we ended up at Dona Julia Mexican Kitchen. One word – amazing. The food was beyond incredible and fresh, it was also a family owned restaurant with the sweetest staff!

I got the chicken and beef tacos and Ian got a vegetarian dish, while we both shared the nachos. We both decided that Dona Julia Mexican Kitchen is 100% worth a repeat meal and we will be going back there when we come back to New Jersey.

We ended the night we some outdoor fire beers with my sister and brother-in-law and enjoyed some of the last bearable fall nights.

The next day we had a family breakfast with my sister and her family at the cutest breakfast spot, John & Elaine’s. It feels like a time wrap going back to a classic Americana spot with great food, good people, and good vibes. It was exactly how an old school diner should be. I would be gatekeeping if I didn’t share that you need to get the fresh squeezed orange juice. Pancakes were top notch. Eggs were cooked perfectly. Bacon was perfect. I don’t think I have had that great of a breakfast in a long time! …Ian and my nephew had to do some exploring for cars on Facebook Marketplace before the meal arrived.

It was overall a great weekend and an awesome change of pace for the typical busy work week. If you want to check out any of the places we went, you can find them here!

Last Wave Brewing Co.
601 Bay Ave, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ 08742

Dona Julia Mexican Kitchen
1308 Richmond Ave, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ 08742

John & Elaine’s
1103 Richmond Ave, Point Pleasant, NJ 08742

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Eliza Fletcher Running

Why We Should Never Forget Eliza Fletcher

This case polarized me from the morning of Friday, September 2nd when I first received the notification no my phone about a missing jogger. What happened to Eliza Fletcher is something that everyone has thought of being a possibility, something that all women and men need to be aware of, something that you really only read about, but never believed would actually happen.

In the early morning hours on Friday, September 2nd, Eliza Fletcher went on a run in her hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. She did this every morning, it was her routine. She didn’t know that this Friday morning would be different than all the other mornings. Eliza was met by evil in human form this Friday morning, his name should not get any notoriety so I won’t mention it, who violently attacked her after waiting for her to run by him and his car. These would be Eliza’s final moment. After her violent abduction, not long after, Eliza Fletcher was murdered and left at an abandoned help. Thanks to the Memphis Police Department, the University of Memphis, Good Samaritans and neighbors, the suspect was apprehended the next day. Eliza’s body was found on September 5th, and identified on September 6th.

This seemingly random, violent, stranger abduction raises so many questions, considering the suspect was previously arrested under violent kidnapping charges which he pleaded guilty too. This post is not for that or anything on criminal justice reform. This is for Eliza and why all runners, walkers, people who are outside, should remember her and this absolutely tragic event.

As runners and outdoor enthusiasts, we have all had nightmares of this situation.

Every morning, runners wake up to get their miles in, just like Eliza. They run for so many reasons – to escape thoughts, to stay in shape, to train for competition, but many see it as therapy. A simple act of self-care turned into a death sentence for this mother of 2 and now all runners will start their runs with a little extra awareness, a few more nerves, because of this tragic event. Even before the news of Eliza Fletcher’s violent kidnapping :

We play our music low or only wear one headphone so we can hear footsteps or people approaching around or behind us.

We carry pepper spray on our keychains for protection.

We were told to put our keys between our fingers and hold fists.

We share our locations at all times with our family and closest friends so they know where we are, when we are there, and if we are in the place we are supposed to be at.

We have disaster playbooks in our heads about how to handle people who cross our paths with bad intentions, so we have a plan if a terrible situation ever happens to us.

We make eye contact with some and avoid eye contact with others.

We make phone calls to trusted friends and family when we are alone and feel unsafe.

We touch trees, street light poles, walls, things on our path, so there is a physical trail of where we were and are headed.

As an active female, I have always been warned of the possibility of a terrible crime like what happened to Eliza. She could have been any of us. Whether it is in the morning, afternoon, or night, the fear of a random abduction has been warned. Yet, we all continue to do what we love – running, walking, hiking, etc. Eliza was outside running the morning she was senselessly murdered. The fear that we all have had did not stop Eliza.

Ways to Remember Eliza Fletcher

Share Her Story, Keep Her Name Alive.

The end of Eliza’s life is nightmare worthy, but it needs to be told. People need to know and change needs to be made. Women and men should not be afraid to go outside and ran by themselves. Share her story so others know that even though this appears to be a part of a horror movie script, it is indeed real life and was a real event that took place. We should not have to fear, but at the end of the day this is a very unfortunate reality that everyone should be aware of.

Keep Running for Eliza.

Continue pursuing your passions, your therapeutic activities, your marathon training, as she did regardless of the fears that she and many other women runners feel on a daily basis. Don’t stop running. Wake up every morning and run.

Stay Safe and Aware.

We should not have to worry about being abducted, but now more than ever we have to stay safe and aware. Do not let this story fade into the depths of the news and reporting and what’s the hot story – let Eliza’s story steer you into becoming an advocate for safety for women runners everywhere. Take the extra steps that may seem overboard – share your location, stay aware of your surroundings, carry a collapsable knife, carry pepper spray. I am sure that Eliza took precaution before her run, there is a reason why her case was solved so quickly.

Start a Community Watch Group

Keeping your community together and looking out for each other is important. Neighborhood Apps and Facebook Groups are create methods to stay in touch with your community. You never know what a small observation you make can have – many things that were reported by Good Samaritans and neighbors led to the arrest of Eliza’s killer and the discovery of Eliza’s body. If your community does not have one, start a watch group in Eliza’s honor.

Create or Join a Running Club or Group

The fear should not stop you from running or doing any activities solo – but in wake of Eliza Fletcher’s murder, it may not be the first thing on your to do list. Join a run club or create a run club to ensure that you are traveling with a group of people during your exercise. Whether it is a group of 3 or a group of 30, get people out and running and do so in Eliza FLetcher’s memory.

Eliza Fletcher Could Have Been Any of Us.

Eliza Fletcher’s case resonated a little extra to me and I know it struck a cord with many others. There’s been many times that I felt unsafe – the multiples times I called my father scared that a man was following me when I was walking home, or the car that followed me into my neighborhood when I walked home from school, or making eye-contact with someone who is uncomfortably watching me so that they know I see them and are aware of what is happening around me. The list goes on and it really is terrifying.

We cannot let this case slip beneath the rug and fade from our memories. Eliza Fletcher’s story must stay alive and everyone needs to understand the fear and the dangerous reality that we are battled every single day.

The fear is real.

The nightmare can be a reality.

We can’t let it stop us and dictate or lives. All we can do is prepare, stay vigilant, and plan for the worst. If we pretend the fear is not real then we are allowing ourselves to live in a false reality. Terrible things happen, we must acknowledge it, prepare for it, but try to not let it dictate the rest of our lives.

Rest in Peace Eliza Fletcher.

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Funny Advice for Newlyweds, desserts at an engagement party

Funny Advice for Newlyweds

It’s full blown wedding season, we are 100% in it right now. Which means Engagement Parties, Bachelorettes, and Bridal Showers every single weekend. And all those events mean, fun corny games and activities where you need to know everything about the bride to be, know how to count how many kisses are in a jar, and most importantly know the best advice to give to newlyweds.

If you’re anything like me, the chronically single friend who shouldn’t be giving relationship advice to anyone, then you want to give the newlyweds some funny advice. You know they are reading all the “never go to sleep angry” responses and the “always make time for date nights,” so why not shake it up with something that will make your friends laugh?

Funny Advice for Newlyweds

Never leave the toilet seat up

Always have at least 5 bottles of wine at the house

Prank each other often, start a prank war

The wife is always right

Get a king size bed, you won’t want to be near each other after a while

Don’t try to be a mindreader, or do and see if you’re right

Always be your weird selves

Never check each other’s phones, unless you want to start a fight which is fun sometimes

Don’t forget to put your ring on every day

A glass of wine solves all problems

Never run out of toilet paper

Always blame your partner even if you messed up

Never clean up after your partner, make them learn how to be repsonsible

Laugh at each others jokes even when they aren’t funny

Lie occasionally and see if your partner notices, keep them on their toes

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