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I’m ready for Christmas to be here. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity and I’m ready for a break from the constant buzz. I’m ready to just be in the moments that make this time of year so incredibly special. It might be why I cannot shake this commercial out of my head. It’s a favorite even though I get a bit verklempt when I see it. If you haven’t seen it yet, watch it before reading on. (If you have issue with who made it or whatnot; just put it to the side. Just be in the moment.)

Before I head off on holiday, here’s a special project I’m so excited to share with you. Recently uber-talented photographer and dear friend, Taylor, and I collaborated with Laura, a personal chef, to share a healthy holiday meal.

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Meeting Laura was a bit like a game of Six Degrees: I had met the lovely Wendy at a breakfast meeting (more on her at a later time). She invited me to a business network lunch the following week. At the lunch I met Rob, a naturopathic doctor with a practice on Mercer Island. We met later and ended up talking about the holidays, balancing tradition and remaining healthy. He then mentioned Laura and I should meet to explore a possible collaboration. We met… and hit it off.

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There’s no other way to say this but “YUM” – and I wish Taylor’s pictures included the amazing aroma from the kitchen that day. Laura whipped up and shared three incredible recipes on her blog, which will soon be favorites on your table: Cranberry-Clementine Wild Rice & Farro Salad, Meatloaf Florentine Cupcakes, and Eggnog Cheesecake with Candied Hazelnut Crunch. Along with the recipes, there are substitution suggestions should you need a gluten-free or low-sugar option. If you’re looking for an easy meal while company is in town, this trio is it!

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By the way, what gets me about the commercial is not just the moments shared through the boy’s eyes (sweetly incredible), or the teary mom (I would’ve bawled), but the dad’s hug. Pass me the kleenex. Please. As for a moment I’m looking forward to: the boys’ faces when we attend the candlelight service at the USNA Chapel (it will be their first time). The Chapel itself is a sight to behold, but there’s something about it, lit with candlelight, on Christmas Eve that makes it all the more special.

What about you? Is there a moment you’re looking forward to this week?

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Holiday Menu Shoot: recipe creation and chef: Laura Taylor, Honest to Goodness // photography: Taylor Olcott, Taylor Gage Photography // creative: Asia Rau Vinton, Sparrow Soirées

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