What to Bring on a Winter Trip

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Packing for a winter trip is always a little tricky when you live in a place where the coldest it gets is usually 55 degrees like we do. Lucky for us, this weekend in Big Bear Lake wasn’t as cold as it has been in the past. To be honest, the day was pretty warm, but at night the temperature dropped below freezing and since our cabin was right on the lake, it was even colder. Being from the snowy East Coast, I knew there were things I would have to pack to be prepared for the weather.

  1. L.L. Bean Woolies socks

I am obsessed. Anytime it gets around 40 degrees, which doesn’t happen too often here in SoCal, I pull these bad boys out and bask in my love for New England warmth!

  1. Moisturizer for dry skin

Being in the dry cold at a high altitude can really kill your skin.  I make sure to keep moisturizing throughout the day to make sure when I get back down to

  1. Hats, gloves and scarves

Pretty obvious. Staying warm is the differences between getting sick on your trip or not on your vacation. Stay warm.

  1. Layers

Cardigans, sweaters, t-shirts and long sleeves. I really bring them all when I go somewhere cold. You never know exactly how cold it is going to be and you can always remove layers so I just pile tees and sweaters on top of each other that way I am always comfortable.

What do you make sure you bring on a winter vacation?

A Day in Big Bear Lake

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I know, I know, I am slacking again. I haven’t posted in over a week! But don’t worry, I’ve been working on some great things for you guys! To start, this week I am doing a little series about our mini “winter vacation.”

This weekend we went with a few of our friends to Big Bear Lake, CA for our annual weekend away in the snow… only due to Mother Nature’s lack of precipitation here in California there was, well, no snow. So we found other ways to keep ourselves occupied in the ski-resort town.

Friday Chris and I woke up early and headed up to the mountain before anyone else. We got into town around noon and spent the first part of the day walking around the village and checking out the little boutiques in town. Maybe because it was Friday, or maybe because it was 60 degrees but the town was absolutely dead compared to other years we have been up there. But no complaints here because that just meant it was easier to get around and shop through the stores.

After town we still couldn’t get into the cabin we were renting so we headed over to Big Bear Mountain Brewery to taste some local beer since Chris is getting more and more into appreciating local craft beers. It was located in a cute little house on the main road into the town. With only 6 tables and about 10 bar stools it had an awesome small town feel with simple foods like sweet potato fries, burgers and nachos. Chris, of course, got the sampler where for just $10 you can taste the 6 craft beers they brew.

After we met up with the first of our friends to show up and got settled into the cabin where we relaxed, cooked food, and hung out for Friday night and Saturday. Sunday we planned on heading to an Alpine Sledding mountain and taking a few rides down the mountain but instead we had to run down the mountain before an actual snow store started coming in. But now we have another reason to head up for a night or day.

Big Bear is one of my favorite getaways from the super urban life of living in LA or Orange County. I love getting up on the mountain and literally being in the forest and having beautiful, huge, mature trees all around us and the fresh mountain air. One day I do want to get up on skis or a snowboard and take that risk but this weekend sure wasn’t the weekend to try it. Two more years until I need to check that off my bucket list.

Valentine’s Pretzel Bites

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This is one of my favorite treats my mom makes for the holidays. Usually she makes them during Christmas time with Rolos and pecans and it is the perfect mix of chocolate and salt with a little caramel. But I like these little bites because you can customize them for any holiday or occasion. Today I am making my Valentine’s version of pretzel bites for Chris to bring to work for a little treat for his co-workers. It’s great because they are quick and easy and require literally zero baking talent, which is perfect for me! Enjoy!

Medium Pretzels
Caramel Chocolates
Valentine’s M&Ms

Preheat your oven to 350⁰ and layer parchment paper onto a cookie sheet. Lay pretzels along the parchment paper and place a caramel chocolate centered on top of the pretzels. Pop pretzels with caramel into the oven for 5-7 minutes and allow the caramel chocolate to soften. Pull out of oven and lightly place one M&M on top of each pretzel bite. Allow to cool and after a half hour pull parchment paper off of cookie sheet and place on plate into the refrigerator. Don’t remove pretzels from parchment paper until the bites are fully cooled down. Enjoy.

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7 Layer Dip

I absolutely love football season, and as much as it is disappointing when football season is over, it means it is the Superbowl! One of my favorite sports time of year. Today everyone will be sitting around the TV wearing jerseys, yelling at the refs, watching some of the most expensive commercials ever made, and eating a ton of food. I, however, will be at work, so here is a recipe for you to enjoy of one of my favorite football foods. Let me live vicariously through you.

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2 vine tomatoes
½ jalapeño (whole Jalapeno if desired) 
¼ head of iceberg lettuce
Avocado
8 ounces sour cream
Small can of slices olives
28 ounces pinto beans
2 cups Mexican cheese
¼ cup whole milk

Empty can of pinto beans into saucepan and simmer on medium heat. Mash beans with a potatomasher. Simmer for 5 minutes and allow to thicken. Add Mexican cheese and milk to beans. Cook on low for another 5 minutes mixing milk and cheese into beans. Stir regularly to ensure beans don’t burn.When consistency is as desired turn off and allow to cool. Cut lettuce, tomatoes, and jalapeño and setaside. Beans should cool within a half hour. After a half hour build dip. Layer beans ½ in layer of beans along the bottom of 9×9 dish. Layer on sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, jalapeños and olives. Put dip in refrigerator and let sit. When ready to serve cut avocado into chunks and layer desired amount on topof dip. Garnish with cilantro and enjoy.