“Winter” has arrived, and I’m writing this post the day after Christmas. It’s going to be above 70 degrees today. Hah! I really hope I can experience a beautiful snowfall before it’s time write my “Farewell, Winter 2022” post. Fall was a bit of a blur this year. Time moved quickly, and I can’t believe we’re already approaching 2022. We kicked off the season with the best 50 in 5 trip to date, so I’ll start there:
Where we traveled
In September, we embarked upon a very ambitious trip to Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho, and Montana. Split into two segments, we first flew to Minneapolis and drove through the Dakotas before flying again to Missoula, Montana, and popping over to Idaho before driving up to Glacier National Park for a few days.
Montana was the star of the trip, and we’ve never felt so at peace anywhere during our travels. To everyone’s surprise, including our own, Brandon and I both immediately declared Montana to be our new favorite state. I hope in the future, after 50 in 5 is over, we’re able to make an annual trip to Glacier National Park. It was truly the highlight of our year, which says a lot, since our Southwest road trip was also this year and I thought nothing could top it. Two shots from our hike to Avalanche Lake below:
Home projects we completed
I am thrilled that we completed a huge home project in November: we updated our kitchen and dining room! When we bought our house in 2017, I told Brandon that I only had one condition: the yellow kitchen had to go. We have prioritized other projects over the years, but at the start of 2021 I promised myself this would be the year to change it. It’s the most-used room in the house, and the kitchen and I both deserved a refresh.
I planned and designed and re-designed and planned some more for months. Brandon and I took a week off of work in November to make it all happen! Then, I threw in repainting the dining room on top of our other work. I’ll detail this in a longer blog post, but in short, we did a lot of repairing and a lot of painting. The end result is better than I could have ever imagined. Now, every room in the house really feels like “us.”
Things I ate
While we were in Wallace, Idaho, I ordered French onion soup for dinner at The Fainting Goat and proclaimed it to be the best dish of the trip (and also of the year!). In November, I recreated it at home. I severely underestimated the time it takes to perfectly caramelize an entire dutch oven’s worth of onions, though. (It took me exactly the run-time of “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” if you’re curious.) My dupe was really good, and I want to make it again this winter. I’m laughing at the two photos below. What a difference natural lighting makes! Luckily, the taste was nearly identical.
On our trip, we also tried all things Huckleberry. It’s the state fruit of Idaho, and also widely available across the area of Montana where we traveled. I’m not a big berry fan, but Brandon loved it.
What I played on repeat
Earlier this month, Brandon and I bought a record player. We’ve talked about doing it for years, but finally dove in when I wanted to listen to “A Very She & Him Christmas” on vinyl. We hit up the local used book/music/game store, along with a local record store, and stocked up on holiday music and records from artists we love. Brandon even went the extra mile and had a new copy of Leon Bridges’ “Coming Home” shipped from a record store in Georgia so I could hear my all-time favorite song, “River,” on vinyl.
We also listened to a lot of NEEDTOBREATHE ahead of seeing them in concert in October. We planned to see another favorite group, The Lone Bellow, in November, but both came down with colds and had to miss out.
On the horizon
I’m genuinely curious to discover what winter will bring. I’m open to embracing whatever comes our way.