Thanks for stopping by for our annual holiday newsletter! I say this every year, but 2018 flew by. What a whirlwind of work, travel and life!
Just when you think you have thing figured out, life gets in the way. Pat received word that The North Face was planning to relocate to Denver, Colorado. Luckily within days of the announcement, recruiters started calling and he was able to find a great position doing global merchandise planning for Levi Strauss (yes, that Levi’s). Levi’s is in downtown San Francisco, meaning he can commute by bike instead of being stuck in traffic driving out of the city.
I continue to work in the NICU (ICU for babies) at a hospital in Berkeley. I absolutely love my job, including the opportunity to attend deliveries for premature babies. Every time a baby leaves the hospital, I feel a sense of pride that I played a part in their care. I also still occasionally work in urgent care and the pediatric ICU to make sure I stay well-rounded – and busy!
The blog continues to grow. It’s so much fun to be tagged on social media when people make the recipes I create and hear how a recipe brought joy to the people around them.
I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram, in that I love the community and connection I feel with people there, but hate the amount of time I spend stressing about analytics and follower count. It’s hard to find a balance but I’m always working to decrease my screen time.
Travel remains an important part of our leisure activities. My ‘work wife’ Cynthia and I went to Hong Kong in the spring for a trip with Hong Kong Airlines and The Kerry Hotel. It was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. Hong Kong is a vibrant and hyperactive place with an amazing food scene.
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These are the slightly shell-shocked faces of two people who just looked death in the eye. ?
We were on mile 9 of a 10 mile hike in @TahoeNorth when I heard a rustle to my left. ‘BEAR’ was my first thought as I saw a black bear scurrying up a tree. My second thought was ‘BABY BEAR’ and then I saw a second sibling a few feet away. If you know anything about bears, when you see these adorable innocent creatures, there is a protective mama surely only feet away. As I started to shout (apparently my response in a bear situation is to say a throaty ‘HUH, HUH’ loudly over and over again) and move anxiously up the path, there she was watching us suspiciously not even 40 feet away.
Thankfully we continued to make noise and move quickly, but not too quickly, away and she didn’t pursue us. We’re lucky that black bears are relatively even-tempered, even when the have cubs, as if it had been a grizzly the story could have been so different. It was such a privilege to see them on our hike but honestly once was enough for a lifetime! ?
Interestingly that very morning I said to Pat, “You know, I’ve only every seen a bear in the wild once and it was from a car.” Now that number has increased 4 fold and I’ve certainly used up another of my nine lives. ??♀️
Pat and I spent a long weekend in North Lake Tahoe a few weeks ago hiking, biking and enjoying the last bit of fall colors.
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It’s always a good day for an adventure. ? Our first day in Glacier National Park was a little grey and misty, but that didn’t stop us from tackling our first hike! We chose Avalanche Lake which turned out to be the perfect choice. It had tree cover for a lot of the hike which offered shelter from the rain and at the end was the magnificent shimmering Avalanche Lake with a perfect reflection of the peaks on the opposite side.
Another benefit of the grey skies was having this normally popular spot almost to ourselves. It just goes to show there’s no such thing as a bad day to have an adventure. ❤️@glaciermt #glaciermt #glaciernationalpark #letsgosomewhere #rei1440project
You might be reading this letter because you received one of our holiday cards in the mail. We chose a design from Minted this year that made us think of our trip. We were thrilled with the result:
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Staying cozy tonight and working on our @minted holiday cards. ☕️✒️ Recognize the photo? It was my last IG post, captured during our Tahoe weekend. We choose Minted for our holiday cards every year because of the paper quality and the unique designs produced by independent artists all over the world. #MintedHoliday #MintedPartner #flatlaysquad #coffeenclothes
We also visited Glacier National Park in June where we caught the annual opening of the Going to the Sun Road. We were blown away by the natural beauty there and the vastness of the park.
We spent Thanksgiving in the Midwest splitting time between Pat’s family in Minneapolis, and my family in rural Wisconsin. A new nephew was born the week before Thanksgiving and my sister is due in April. We’re looking forward to filling the Cool Aunt and Uncle roles.
Our dog child, Maddie, continues to be the best friend and adventure partner we could ask for. We love her unconditionally, but occasionally she gives us a few gray hairs. This year she ate an entire bar of cream cheese, including the wrapper, and two ears of corn with the cobs still attached. She broke a tooth playing tug of war last week so she’s now recovering from dental surgery. Thank goodness for pet insurance.
I just got back from a trip to Maui with Cynthia, where we worked with the Maui Tourism Board and the amazing Hyatt Regency and Fairmont Kealani Hotels. For this trip we worked with hotel employees to do a social media training and also created new photography content for one of the Hyatt Regency restaurants. It’s a pretty amazing feeling to have ‘work’ involve photographing and eating food in Hawaii!
Speaking of photography, I find myself more and more drawn to photography. I’ve started taking on photography clients, mainly in the food and product photography spheres. I’m always pushing myself to improve my photography and styling skills. I even created a few videos about photography on YouTube and I’m hoping to do more this year.
On a more serious note, 2018 was especially memorable for the increasing impact of climate change all over the world. Here in northern California, the Camp Fire devastated the town of Paradise and lead to ten days of toxic air quality for us. Reports on climate change really hit home about how dire the future could be if we don’t get our act together! We’re trying to do our part by decreasing the plastic packaging we purchase, following a mainly vegetarian diet and watching our carbon footprint. We also purchased a fully electric car which makes my commute much more fun.
At the risk of sounding dramatic, there’s nothing like the air you breathe becoming unsafe to make you really think about the future of life on our planet. We’re still reeling from the devastation of the fires. Consider writing to your government representatives to support climate change legislation and make sure you look at candidates’ positions on the environment when casting your vote. If you’re doing something to help the earth, we’d love to hear about it.
We wish you joy and health in 2019.
P.S. – Curious about our past holiday letters? You can find them here: