Our Christmas Trip to Utah

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Tommy and I spent last weekend celebrating Christmas in Utah with my family, and it was SUCH a good weekend. It was busy but still relaxing, wintery but not freezing (their temps this weekend will be below zero – we lucked out!), and I got to see so many loved ones that I haven’t seen in YEARS. The trip definitely got me in the Christmas spirit! (And, I have to admit, it also made me kind of sort of want to move back to Utah, which has never happened. 🙂 )


We arrived Thursday afternoon and my mom had freshly baked bread waiting for us when we got home from the airport. It was even still warm!! Something about her bread is magic because it rarely gives me the digestive issues that I typically get with gluten. Perhaps it’s the extra love. (Or the fact that it’s high quality wheat she uses from Lehi Roller Mills? I dunno, but I LOVE IT.) Here’s her recipe!

My dad made dinner for us that night. We had elk that he and my brothers had hunted in October, potatoes from his garden and roasted cauliflower. It’s funny to realize as an adult now just how well we ate growing up. It seems trendy to have a garden and get “free-range” meat, but it was how my parents always fed us. We were very lucky!

We took a trip to Freddy’s in Draper with one of my brothers and his kids for dessert. Their shakes and fries were so good, and my nieces and nephews are so adorable. 🙂 And yes, fries qualify as dessert. Especially with fry sauce, which I’m pretty sure is specific to Utah?


We slept in on Friday and then hit up CrossFit with my mom. It was so fun to share a rack with my mom (same height!). We did front squats, increasing weight. She finished at 2 reps of 80# and I finished at 5 reps at 125#. After the lifting portion, it was time for Fran. THAT IS NO JOKE IN ELEVATION. My lungs felt raw by the end. But, I was super excited that I did all the pull-ups without my hand grips (since I didn’t pack them) – I’ve never done pull-ups without them and it was a good ego boost since I definitely get in my head that I have to have them. And I LOVE that my 70 year old does CrossFit! She is AMAZING.

And after Crossfit, my dad made breakfast!

Friday afternoon we met with our financial planner, who is in Utah, and then spent time in the afternoon with my brother at home. He lives three hours away, but he was on his way back from Las Vegas after a roping competition and took a detour to come visit.

My outfit: jeans | sweater | coat: similar here & here | booties
Tommy’s outfit: shirt | jeanssweater | boots
** Sizes for reference: My top is XS and the jeans are size 25. 

My brother put his horse in the front field and the three horses in the back field were VERY interested. Tommy and I decided to play horse whisperer to calm them down. 😉

On Friday night, we had dinner with another one of my brothers and his wife and one of their sons. We went to The Ridge, which was a really cool spot. I thought the live music was way too loud though…does that mean I’m getting old?


On Saturday, we had a family party with my mom’s side. I haven’t been to that family party in TEN years and it was SO fun to see all my cousins. My favorite part of the party is musical chairs… it gets INTENSE but Tommy WON. It takes serious dedication (and maybe a little help from my cousins who were in charge of the music ;)) to win against that group! Welcome to the family Tommy!

On Saturday afternoon, we had a small, casual wedding celebration at my parent’s house. Since we had such a small wedding, it was fun to introduce Tommy to some friends from home. And, it was fun for me to see friends I haven’t seen in way too long. I was in student government in high school and had the most amazing advisor, Don Ward. I was so grateful he was able to come, but was sad we didn’t get to chat more. He’s such an interesting and smart man – I know Tommy and Don could chat for hours about politics!

And it was so fun to FINALLY meet a long-time blog reader turned friend who was able to stop by! Thanks for coming Jane!

After the party ended, we grabbed a quick bite to eat and then took Trax (the lightrail system in Utah) downtown for the Mormon Tabernacle Christmas concert. Tickets to that concert are impossible to get but my sister-in-law was able to snag some! I was SO excited since the concert is always amazing, and this year they had Lord Grantham from Downtown Abbey as a guest artist. (I mean, uh, Hugh Bonneville.;) )

After the concert, we walked around downtown a bit. The City Creek mall is AMAZING, holy. My mom had told me it was but I was blown away by how nice it is. Sigh. Maybe someday Winston will have better shopping! (I just want a Nordstrom — is that too much to ask?!)

On Sunday, we had brunch with another one of my brothers and his family. (I have 5 older brothers!) He also lives three hours from my parents, so I was grateful I got to see him during our short trip! He used to live in NC and I’ll never stop campaigning for him to move back.

jeans | booties | shirt (My shirt is an XS)

On Sunday afternoon, Tommy and I spent a couple hours at the Snowbird ski resort. Neither of us ski, but we sat in the lodge and drank coffee, watching others come down the mountain. It was perfect, and we are perfect for each other. Whenever we take a trip with family, I always try to carve out time for just the two of us to connect (like our date night on Thanksgiving weekend). I think it’s important to make memories with just the two of us, in addition to family memories, and we always have so much fun together.

Tommy’s coat + sunglasses

It was a PERFECT trip and I’m so grateful for my wonderful family and friends and to have such an amazing place to visit! And I’m so grateful this last minute trip worked out to get some time at home for the holidays, even if it was much too short.

My coat: similar here & here + beanie + boots (you can’t see them here, but you can see them in the pictures above) | Tommy’s coat

I hope you have a WONDERFUL holiday weekend ahead of you! I’m going to attempt to go for a run to try to shake some of this congestion loose. (If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen that Tommy and I came home from Utah with colds!) We have a family party later this afternoon with Tommy’s family and then we’ll be home for Christmas Eve before heading to his parent’s place on Christmas Day. I need to figure out what we’ll do on Christmas Eve – food, activity, anything. I really want to start some traditions since it’s our first Christmas as husband & wife, but uh, I haven’t given it much thought. So, I’d love to hear what traditions you have with your husband/family to help inspire me!

What’s your favorite Christmas Eve tradition?

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    8 responses to “Our Christmas Trip to Utah”

    1. It is not too much to ask for a Nordstrom! I say the same thing every time we go home to Utah! Asheville is seriously lacking in the shopping department!

      Enjoy making new holiday traditions this year!

    2. Your Utah trip looked so fun and it’s so beautiful there! I want to go now! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and that you get to do something fun with Tommy for Christmas Eve. Every year since I was young, my family goes out to dinner at the same place and then we usually watch a Christmas movie together (typically Christmas vacation)!

    3. Is it weird that I teared up while reading this? I’ve never lived more than an hour from my parents, and as only child, I’ve always felt really fortunate to never be more than an hour or two away from most of my extended family. I’ve often felt that maybe Wisconsin maybe isn’t where I want to live my whole life, but I just don’t think I could ever move!
      All this to say, I can only imagine just how special these trips are for you and I love that you share them. Love that you got to see friends and family from way back, but especially the time you spent with your parents.

      • You are SO sweet. Thank you for your comment – it really warmed my heart! Also, I always wonder if people are interested in the more “personal” posts since most people seem to like the fashion or running posts best, so I really appreciate you sharing that you like these!

    4. I loved reading your post about Utah! Sounds like a fab trip!!! I live in UT and am looking for a financial planner. Do you love yours? I’d love their contact info!

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