Friday Five: Bowl Eligible

Every Friday I’ll indulge my order-crazed brain in a list of randomness. Welcome to my Friday Fives.

There are so many things I’d rather be blogging about…how freezing it is, the cuteness that is Bella’s new snow booties, Christmas treats I’m craving…but instead I’m going to write about the anticipation of this weekend. We’ve been waiting a loooooong time for this day to come. Because on Sunday we finally find out a very important piece of information that determines our entire holiday break: Which bowl game invitation will go to Utah State?

It’s so foreign to not have a plane ticket in hand right now in order to be home for the holidays. So weird to have my favorite time of the year dictated by football, of all things. But, this is the life we live now. Div-I, baby. And I’m doing my best to embrace it.

Therefore, I will now list my top five choices of where we might be spending our holiday:

5. New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque)

Coming in at a solid number five goes to the Land of Enchantment. It would mean a reunion with Joe’s former horn teacher, JD—maybe—and slightly higher temps than what we have right now. And, hey, a trip’s a trip.

New Mexico Bowl 1

4. Poinsettia Bowl (San Diego)

I haven’t been to San Diego since I was a child. I’d love to soak up some sun at the game and then hit up the zoo. My guess is that it’d be a lot warmer than New Mexico too, so it inched forward for those reasons alone.

San Diego bowl 1

3. Las Vegas Bowl (…Vegas)

I’ve never been to Sin City, and maybe traveling with a bunch of college kids isn’t how I envisioned myself getting there, but I’ll take what I can get. At least most of them are legal so there would be minimal babysitting involved. Chances are (har har) this is a top contender for us. I’m feelin’ lucky either way.

Las Vegas Bowl 1

2. Hawaii Bowl (Honolulu)

Could it be true?! Could USU actually get the Hawaii Bowl?! Could I potentially spend Christmas on the sunny shores of paradise, consuming Vitamin D like it’s my job?! God, I hope so. At first we didn’t think we’d have to take the band to Hawaii, but USU Athletics assured Joe they’d need a band for whatever game we make. Here’s to alohas, sipping out of coconuts and, oh yeah, warmth. Do you think Mormon kids would appreciate a good lei joke? My guess is yes.

Hawaii Bowl 1

1. Bell Helicopter’s Armed Forces Bowl (Fort Worth)

What, you may ask, could possibly put any destination over Hawaii? Easy…family. A Texas bowl would ensure time to see my family, love on my brand-new nephew, pass out a few hugs, eat a Cinnamon Roll or five. No sunny beaches could beat that out. Not even Hawaii’s. (Okay, it hurts a little bit to admit that, but it’s true.)

Armed Forces Bowl 1

And, look, we even went to the Armed Forces Bowl in 2007 with my family, including my Gramps who worked for Bell Helicopter!

CIMG0499

There’s only one other option it could be and that’s Boise’s Potato Bowl. *nothanks* I won’t be joining Joe for that one. I’m not even going to post a pic of the stadium. That’s how in denial I am about it as a choice.

Stay tuned for the big announcement on Sunday! #pinsandneedles

And, on a side note, someone texted me earlier this week asking about my habit-breaking month of November. Apparently all I ever need to do is post my goals on the world wide webs to hold me accountable, because I’ve not only completely nixed my Diet Coke/Coke Zero addiction obsession (cold turkey, no less), I’m also back at the gym, waking up early and it turns out I don’t need to eat a peanut butter sandwich every day for lunch. For realz. It worked! Take that, habits!

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# salt lake city (food & friend edition)

Despite living here for over six months, we had never properly explored Salt Lake City. It’s only an hour and a half away, but our weekends have been filled with football games, gigs and sleeping so far. Our friends Chris and Chilali, who hosted us at Thanksgiving, asked if we wanted to go down with them so they could show us around. They didn’t have to ask us twice.

Meet Chris and Chiali–fellow Midwesterners, fellow food enthusiasts and totally awesome couple.

Chris and Chilali at Pig and a Jelly Jar

We have so much in common with them and love our time together. Can’t say enough about them. We actually have a lot of mutual friends and weird coincidences…like, while Chris & Chilali were at Michigan, they played a gig with Joe in a local orchestra and it was the concert where C & C met and started dating. #weird  Chris also is good friends with one of my friends/NWS colleagues, and to top it off, he went to a summer festival with my oldest, dearest friend Bobbie where they nearly died in the ocean. Just plain crazy! The music world is so happily claustrophobic.

Here’s a rundown of our Food Tour of Salt Lake City!

First stop: Pig and a Jelly Jar for brunch.

It’s known for a special family-style “Sunday Supper,” but our brunch was fantastic. I had a homemade veggie burger, Joe had a frittata with bacon, apples, candied walnuts and bleu cheese béchamel, Chilali had the ham hash (after all that week’s turkey!), and Chris had chicken and waffles. Yumm. You can even order PBR cocktails, though we stuck to coffee, tea and water for this trip.

Pig and a Jelly Jar - Salt Lake City

Pig and a Jelly Jar brunch - Salt Lake City

Pig and a Jelly Jar PBR Cocktails - Salt Lake City

We then drove around to check out some neat neighborhoods and let our stomachs settle. You can’t beat Patagonia and REI outlet stores, tucked in fun little neighborhoods here and there.

Patagonia Outlet - Salt Lake City

REI Store - Salt Lake City

Then we checked out Trolley Square. (Side note: Chris was well-versed in all of the SLC serial killers, crime, shootings, etc…so now we know all that too.)

Trolly Square - Salt Lake City

Trolley Square was home to one of our grocery stops (Whole Foods), but first we visited a fun gift and card store and an awesome bookstore called Weller Book Works. I could have spent all day in here. It’s a home for new, used and collectable books, but also had an extensive section of books on The West.

Weller Book Works - Salt Lake City

I also fell in love with these Penguin Drop Caps books, which I had seen online, but–my god–they are even more gorgeous in person. Do you hear that? It’s my heart fluttering non-stop over books. #nobigdeal

Books - Salt Lake City

We made trips to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s (with a huge cooler in our trunk), and then went straight to the Italian Market. The most-anticipated stop of the trip for me. We walked in to Tony Caputo’s to the rich aroma of cheese, meats, garlic and tomatoes.  And then, there it was…the Cheese Cave. How can you not love a place with a Cheese Cave?!

Tony Caputos Market - Salt Lake City

Tony Caputos Market's Cheese Cave - Salt Lake City

We didn’t eat anything at the deli, but I did score some of my favorite cheese on the planet: Prima Donna.

Tony Caputos Market's Prima Donna - Salt Lake City

By then, it was time to start the trek back to Logan Canyon to take care of a certain spoiled puppy. But not without one last stop in Ogden (about an hour from Logan) for pizza at Lucky Slice.  Just check out their menu:

Lucky Slice Menu - Ogden

I had a slice of “Danimal,” which has a pesto base, mozzarella, feta, parmesan, red onion, fresh tomato, balsamic reduction and lemon. #sold  It was incredible and totally worth the stop.

Lucky Slice Danimal - Ogden

Thanks to Chris and Chilali, our Utah horizons have been broadened and our stomachs stretched to the point of no return. Here’s to many more outings exploring our new-ish state with new friends.