As New Years Eve drew closer this year, I spent more and more time reflecting on my first full year blogging and what the hi-lights were. One thing I struggled with a lot in the begging was my niche. Am I a food blogger? A mom blogger? Is it okay if I blog about a little bit of everything? The answer I am landing on with now a year under my belt, is that I enjoy a handful of things equally and want to continue to blog about them all. If I were to summarize the majority of my posts, they fall into the following categories: recipes, the restaurant/winery scene, boating and beauty… all with a little Seattle twist.
So, to recap 2017 I wanted to visit what I consider to be the best of each category! These aren’t necessarily my best-written posts. I would say they are however my best experiences of the year – truly things I recommend trying for yourself whether it be a new hot spot in town, or a special recipe to add to your box. Links to each individual post are included in the title so that you can go back and save them for later (Pinterest-friendly!).
The Lake House in Bellevue was new to the Northwest dining scene this past year, and made my list of must-try restaurants in 2017. We attended for my birthday; a few months after they had opened. A few reasons I chose this as my favorite restaurant I tried this year. For one, the ambiance is beautiful. I am so tired of the perpetual Seattle-grunge style restaurants with cold cement walls and exposed re-bar. This place is classy and nicely finished. The waitstaff were extremely knowledgeable, their wine list was killer, and of course the food was great. A must-try for a classy date night!
Siren Song is not a new winery, but it is one I discovered in 2017. They won my #1 pick because they are the total package… great wines, great prices, food and fun activities, and of course, their absolutely breathtaking view. When I taste at Siren Song, I feel like I am being transported somewhere else. You walk in and are hit with fragrant aromas from their cooking classes in the kitchen to the right, and ahead of you, there are the french doors that take you out to their stunning patio, where you can sit and sip all day. Am I in Italy? SoCal? Heaven? No – just beautiful sunny Lake Chelan enjoying the day, often with small bites, live music, and even the owners of the winery perusing to see how your visit has been. An added plus – their wines are crazy affordable! $25 for all reds, $36 for all whites. Super fair pricing if you ask me.
I was actually in Roche Harbor this year on a work trip – we did a “Rendezvous” there with our customers for a weekend. Roche Harbor is this magical little place opposite Friday Harbor in the San Juans. This tiny town seems as if it has been preserved in time, with their historic buildings and cobblestone walkways. Unfortunately, after my trip I was still so busy with work that I did not have the time to blog more about it, and I would like to this coming year. Roche Harbor can be a little harder of a trip only because its quite a drive and therefore relatively considered un-attainable unless you own a boat to get you there. There is a secret to getting there without, and I plan to tell both sides of the story of a vacation there (with a boat or without) in 2018!
Okay, on to the food part of my blog. I really love sharing my recipes, and I have to say I was a little proud looking back on my collection from 2017! There were some really good (I mean REALLY) baked goods to choose from this year, but if I HAD to pick one winner, it would be this carrot cake. I feel like a good carrot cake recipe should be a recipe box staple; its an obvious recipe to get you through Easter, but really can be used anytime and it appeals to a variety of different taste buds. Plus, it can easily be converted into a cupcake recipe too!
That’s right… I just picked a VEGAN recipe as my best recipe of the year. Let me start with a disclaimer: I am not vegan, or even vegetarian for that matter. However I like to cook veggie recipes every now and then to help my hubby cut down on cholesterol in his diet, and to keep us on a honest and healthy track. When I cooked this recipe for my Mexican husband (who LOVES steak, btw), he swore it was so good that we should make it for his family and not tell them it was sans-meat. I chose this one because I want you to have some faith that a veggie recipe can be truly delicious and give it a try. Plus, I included info on the Thug Kitchen cookbook which is not only a total riot, but has lots of other delicious veggie recipes too!
I was introduced to Rodan and Fields as part of my beauty routine this past year, and I am officially addicted. I started using their products to get rid of some terrible skin discoloration on my cheeks (Melasma) thanks to postpartum hormone imbalances, but was introduced to other parts of their lineup along the way. My favorite now is their lash boost serum… as a girl who used to mess around with lash extensions and eventually ended up with some sad bald eyeballs as a result, I was so thrilled to find a product that genuinely helped me grow more full and long lashes, without any poor consequences. My lashes have doubled in size since starting to use the lash boost in August, and are still growing!
Well, there you have it! My bests of 2017. Is there anything on this list that you have already tried yourself?
I truly hope that 2018 turns out to be everything you wish it to and more!
X.O. – Abbey Co.