Week In Review (August 25 – August 31, 2014)

My Week In Review (otherwise known as WIR) posts are just that: a review of my past week.  I post an update here every Tuesday sharing some tidbits of my previous week as well as an accompanying photo recap with selections from my Instagram.  Here’s the buzz from my week:


I spent our last week at the family vacation home in Utah savoring some of my most favorite things to do.  With a reduced posting schedule (I should be back on track for fall soon!), I took advantage of my free time with lots of yoga, walks enjoying the mountain air, knitting on the front porch, and of course, time spent with loved ones enjoying laughter and conversation over good food.  While it’s still technically summer for a few more weeks until the autumnal equinox on September 22, the last week in August always feels like the last week of summer, especially when for the past few years it is traditionally the end of our summer stay in Utah.  Plus, the weather in the mountains is quickly turning to fall, as I mentioned in last week’s WIR.  You wouldn’t believe how quickly those mountains are turning a burnt orange color with the leaves changing!

For a reason that is a bit difficult to explain because the origins are unclear, even to us, the women in the Ross side of the family refer to each other as “Melissa” even though no one is actually named that.  It’s a pet name we all have for one another.  Every summer we have a Melissa Day where we go to Deer Valley and ride the chair lift up the mountain and stop for lunch at Silver Lake Lodge.  It was so much cooler this year than it has been in years past, but we still had a good time and managed to laugh about it when we got stuck in a very chilly rainstorm up on the chair lift.  It’s traditions like these that make for beautiful memories.


It wouldn’t be a WIR post without talking about food!  You know we like to eat in this family, especially when we are all together.  I was so happy to be able to spend some time with my friend Kristina (an amazing graphic design artist and paper crafter you can find on YouTube and at her website), who lives in Utah.  Kristina made an amazing fresh salsa for dinner with the family.  I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful friend in my life!

In other food news, Don’s new mega smoker and possibly most favorite thing ever arrived mid-last week and we all enjoyed the delicious smoked meats he made with it for the last half of the week.  Just look at that smile…that’s one happy guy!  It is the MMS-48 from Myron Mixon Smokers, which is a vertical water smoker, if you’re curious.  It’s a special gift that Don’s Dad, Keith (or Poopsie, if you watch our vlogs 😉 ) purchased as, in his words, a gift for himself since it comes with an operator (aka Don).  It arrived on Tuesday and between then and when we left on Sunday, Don smoked ribs, pork shoulder, and brisket.  It was definitely a meat heavy week for us as the Ross household and we were thrilled to be able to share Don’s tasty BBQ with our local friends.

Don and I also went out for a date one night to Edge Steakhouse, a restaurant neither of us had been to before up at the Canyons Resort in Park City.  We were not expecting such large portions and ordered quite a bit to get a well-rounded sense of the restaurant.  The pace was set by the massive popovers in lieu of bread (seriously the size of my face), starters that could easily feed two to three people, followed by juicy steaks and sides that we enjoyed as leftovers for the next several days.  We had a wonderful time and highly recommend it, but plan on keeping the portion size in mind next time we go.


Hooray for Swiss Days!  I first had the delightful experience of visiting this huge crafts fair last summer and was super excited to be in town for another visit this summer.  Once again, I was blown away by the amazing creativity and gorgeous handiwork on display!  My mother-in-law, Suzanne, and I arrived bright and early on Friday morning with a quick pitstop at our favorite coffee place, Filler Up Coffee Station.  We walked around the entire fair, warm beverages in hand, oohing and ahhing over everything.  We both bought a few things.  I picked up a gorgeous wind chime from Up-Cycled Antiques made from an antique creamer and sterling silver spoons.  How cool it that!  I also bought a gorgeous bangle style bracelet made from antique silver flatware from Zions C.I.  Lastly, I purchased a couple of therapeutic flaxseed paks by Homewerks by Deb.  You can use these for heat therapy by microwaving them or cold therapy by placing them in the freezer.  I use these warmed up quite a bit since I have a tendency to get cold (they’re great to lay over your feet even!) and they’re super effectove for me during that time of the month.  I like that these have a mint scent as opposed to the usual lavender one.  I bought one to leave out at the Utah house and one to take home with me.  Deb doesn’t have a website but she does list an email address on her business card, so you can contact her there if you’re interested.  We had a wonderful time at the fair and I hope to be able to go back again next year.


We threw one last party on Friday night to bid farewell to our local friends with Don’s amazing BBQ.  We spent all of Saturday packing up the house and getting ready to go and flew home on Sunday.  Leaving Utah is always sad, but coming home is always nice so there is a balance there.  I miss the mountains so much already and hope we can return soon.

If you’d like to see more from my weekend, check out my vlog:

I think of Utah as my *heart home,” a place where I feel very content and more at peace than anywhere else.  I feel so blessed to be able to spend so much time there.  Of course, Chicago holds a special place in my heart as well, and I love living so close to my family.  Is there anywhere that you think of as your heart home?  It could be where you live, someplace that you visit, or even just a small special spot.  I would love to hear about it if you care to share.  I hope that wherever you are, your heart feels at home.  Take good care…


This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are genuinely my own. *


8 thoughts on “Week In Review (August 25 – August 31, 2014)”

  1. My heart home would be a Deep Creek Lake Maryland. It’s my calm world, where we go to unplug and just be a family. So relaxing to just sit on the dock and watch the boats go by. Thanks for sharing, love your style and zest for life!

  2. The Big Island of Hawaii…where my family has a second home. It is the only place I have ever been where I relax the moment my feet hit the tarmac. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about Hawaii and the next time I can be “On Island”.

  3. Hi Jen!! To answer your question, I have a few “heart homes”…I have one in Ottawa, Ontario where my maternal grandparents live, and our family call our “vacation home” as my mum and my siblings, her sisters and their kids all come over a few times a year. My second heart home is in Cowansville, Québec where my entire mum’s family and a few ancestors settled and live there and it’s the one place where I feel the most at home. My third heart home is my hometown in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan because I moved there when I was four years old, and I went to preschool, kindergarten, elementary school and intermediate (middle) school for the first couple of years. I made and met all of my childhood best friends there and I also lived there for eleven years. My youngest brother was also born there! My fourth heart of home is New Zealand because I lived there with my parents for a month whilst visiting them while I was on summer holidays from school. One of my favourite book series and movie sagas of all time is The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings. I was excited to visit my family in New Zealand, mainly because those movies were made and filmed down there! I fell absolutely fell head over heels in love with the beautiful and unique country and their culture! I hope to go back there to visit, one day. My fifth and final heart of home is the boarding school that I went to with seven of my cousins on my mum’s side of the family. I call that place home because it’s the one place on the planet when I truly feel at home. I loved going to school there! I made a lot of different people there and I was very sad to leave in my senior year in June 2013.
    I have a couple of video requests for you:
    1. Would you ever consider doing a video your YouTube journey? Maybe you could talk about your experience, and maybe give some of us some tips and advice on how to get started with a channel, or multiple ones like you?
    2. Will you be posting a few videos related to your upcoming trip to Italy? (e.g. packing, vlogs, etc…) I went there for two-and-a-half weeks as a special present from my high school graduation in July 2013 to visit my pen pal, Giulia, and it was such a lovely experience!
    3. Would you ever do a video of you unpacking and the process of it whenever you return home from a trip?
    Also on a side note, I was reading your blog post of your vanity organization out in Utah and you did two videos of your loftice!

    1. Thanks for sharing your heart homes! They all sound lovely. As for your questions, I have talked about my YouTube journey in Q&A videos in the past. I hadn’t thought about doing a dedicated video. I’m sure there are lots of people out there with better advice than me in that regard! I do plan on vlogging while in Italy. I’m not sure about packing videos, I wasn’t sure if there would be sufficient interest. Would unpacking be interesting? I literally just put all of the dirty clothes in the laundry and everything else goes back in its rightful bin. I’ll consider it, if people are interested. Thanks for your suggestions 🙂

  4. Thank you so much for another great Utah weekend vlog, loved it! It’s always so great to see you guys in Utah!

    The Swiss Days look so great! Thanks for sharing with us! Great shopping you did there too! Love the unique wind chime! Did Suzanne buy one too?

    My family heritage is Swiss – maybe one day I’ll have to go to Utah to attend the Swiss Days for fun 🙂

    Love having Don vlog about his new smoker too! I miss Don’s cooking videos, so it’s always a treat to have him talk about some cooking in your weekend vlogs! Thank you!

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