Fridays in France: The Savoie Wine and Cheese Coma

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I spent most of my time touring around the Savoie region in both a wine and dairy coma. We’re talking 6 course French lunches,  tasting 15 different wines at one time and cheese tastings pretty much every hour on the hour. In the above photo I’m just pretending I’m still drinking. By this point I had already passed out in the back of the car after said lunch, unbuttoned my pants and couldn’t stomach one more drop of vino. Weak? Yep, you got it.

Savoie is a place to indulge to say the least. They have so many different kinds of cheeses, they can’t even tell you how many are produced out of the Region! The wine isn’t too well known, especially here in the States. And that’s a shame. The greatest concentration of vineyards close to Chambéry is below the mountain named Mont Granier.  Mont Granier got its abrupt shape from a fatal landslide in the 13th century which buried several villages. The rubble left behind proved fertile ground for growing vines.

The landscape is breathtaking with the mountains (seeing all the way to Mont Blanc in Chamonix on a clear day), the sunsets are gorgeous and the Alpine lakes are abundant. The above photo of the tours de Chignin tower and La tour du clos Saint-Anthelme (the castle-looking structure) are thought to date back to the 8th Century. Can you even wrap your head around that? I can’t.  We so enjoyed touring around with our Mountain and Wine Guide, Bernard and his BFF Barto the Wine Pup. Barto rolled without a leash, ran around the restaurants during lunch like he was a boss and plopped down for a nap whenever he felt like it. If that doesn’t sound like the most perfect life, I don’t know what does.

We were definitely sad to leave Savoie – the people, the hospitality, the food. It was top notch. The only tiny regret we have is not heading to Chamonix. Chamonix is one of the oldest ski resorts in France and was the site of the first Winter Olympics in 1924. Everyone we met along the way, whether in the Savoie or Burgundy Regions, was headed here as part of the trip. So if you head this way, put Chamonix on your list. It looks beyond gorgeous. And how about that cable car!?

Sweater Weather

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Winter weather has officially hit Virginia early. It’s cold! And you know it’s cold when I admit to it being cold. No need to rely on the weather forecast. I can tell you. Did I have to disappoint my husband and wear socks to bed? Yes? Then it’s cold, baby!

These pics were taken at one of my favorite Northern VA vineyards in one of my most favorite fall sweater purchases. It’s Forever 21. And it’s super snuggly. And warm. And perfect. It drapes exactly the way I want it to drape and is heavy and constructed very well. Forever 21 has great sweater game this fall, and I suggest you check it out. If you have the patience to weed through the clothing, Forever 21 finds can be well worth your time.

So stay warm, kids. You can shop some of my favorite F21 sweater finds below. I’ve had my favorite long, grey sweater from there for almost 10 years now, and I still wear it once a week. Quality construction is the key. And warmth. Always warmth.

Sweater:  F21
Tee: Zara
Denim: Paige
Booties (similar here): Steve Madden
Hat (similar here): Eddie Bauer
Purse (similar here): Express (Ancient!)

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Food + Drink: A Gluten Free Thanksgiving

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Just because you follow a gluten free lifestyle doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in Thanksgiving Day favorites! With Turkey Day right around the corner, the below recipes are my favorite for this upcoming Holiday (it’s next week guys, can you even believe it?) from around the web. You can find all of the recipes on my Pinterest Board, Gluten Free Thanksgiving, too!

If you follow a gluten free diet, what are your favorite recipes for the Holidays?

Cocktails:

+ Spiced Apple Cider Sangria
+ Pumpkin Chai Hot Buttered Rum Mix
+ Skinny Cranberry Punch
+ Pear Vanilla Sparkler
+ Pomegranate Apple Spritzer

 Starters:

+ Roasted Squash, Beet and Shredded Brussels Sprout Salad
+ Stuffed Artichoke Hors d’oeuvres
+ Butternut Squash Soup with Bacon Garnish
+ Rosemary and Cranberry Spread
+ Ricotta Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Dates

 Side Dishes:

+ Quinoa Stuffing with Apple, Sweet Potato and Hazelnuts
+ Green Bean Casserole
+ Skinny Scalloped Potatoes
+ Cauliflower Mascarpone Gratin
+ Sweet Potato Casserole

 Main Course:

+ Mayonnaise Roasted Turkey
+ Thanksgiving Meatless Loaf
+ Bacon Wrapped Turkey
+ Sticky Asian Glazed Ham
+ Cranberry Glazed Cornish Hens

Dessert:

+ Mini Pumpkin Pie Tarts
+ Pumpkin Bourbon Cheesecake
+ Vegan Maple Pecan Pie
+ Apple and Cranberry Crisp
+ Dark Chocolate Brownies with Pumpkin Frosting

Image Credits:
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