Thanksgiving Weekend 2016: Hiking, Relaxing & Feeling Grateful!

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.” – D. Waitley

If you’re in America or Canada, I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I also hope that your weekends were full of fun and relaxation like mine was! Today I’m backing it up to the start of my glorious 4-day weekend.

We decided to stay in town for the long weekend. My hubby had off for the week from his MBA schooling, so with little work on our agendas, we were free to do whatever we wanted!


On Thanksgiving I love to do an outdoor workout with my little family before the holiday festivities. By going hiking, we all get a workout in and get to enjoy the outdoors together! This year we elected to head to Iron Mountain in Escondido.


I didn’t even realize it until looking at my Thanksgiving 2015 post, but we hiked Iron Mountain last Thanksgiving too… It must be our go-to holiday hike!


We’ve done the hike a couple of times before, and knew it’d be a good workout without being exhausting. It was a great day weather-wise, and while lots of people were out and about around the trail, it thinned out once we started the hike up the mountain.

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Thanksgiving happened to fall on another occasion — Harley’s 6th birthday! She was born (on or around) Thursday, so she was spoiled with a new toy and a big treat.


I feel like it’s crazy that we’ve had Harley since she was 4 months old and she’s now 6 years old, but at the same time, I don’t remember what life was like before we had her. Since we rescued her, she’s been this woman’s best friend, and I love having her as my hiking partner, foot warmer, velcro dog while I’m cooking (I’m messy and tend to drop a lot of food!) and so much more. She’s as rambunctious and energetic as ever, and I wouldn’t want it any other way!


She hates posing for photos. 


We finished the hike in a bit under 3 hours, and it was a great way to spend Thanksgiving morning! The only snafu was that my hubby got stung by a bee at the mountain peak while he was sitting on a bench minding his own business, and his hand wound up getting super swollen. Whomp whomp.

Post-hike, I got ready for our friends’ annual Thanksgiving party and prepped a couple of dishes, including a caprese salad and Ashley’s roasted three bean salad.

I also made David’s peanut butter pie. I’d been looking for a reason to try making this dessert, and it was a hit! I’ve already gotten a request to make it again for my family’s Christmas gathering. I followed the recipe except for lightening it up a bit by swapping out low-fat options for the cream cheese and cool whip.


We had a great time at friendsgiving. I took exactly zero pictures at the party, but we spent the evening catching up with friends, drinking a few glasses of wine and enjoying dinner.

Adam and I had planned on heading up to Laguna Beach to go hiking on Saturday, but once we saw that the weather forecast was calling for weekend rain, we switched our hiking plans to Friday. Hiking two days in a row it was! 

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Adam had never been up to Laguna Beach before, so the long weekend seemed like a good opportunity to take a day to hike and explore the town. Laguna is a gorgeous ocean-front town full of restaurants, shops, art galleries, and of course, beaches. Adam and I were laughing talking about the MTV show Laguna Beach. Circa 2002 seeing the show as teenagers in New Jersey, who knew we’d one day live in Southern California not too far away from Laguna. I remember thinking that the hills of the town looked surreal back then, and it’s still a pretty surreal backdrop looking at it now!

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I wanted to take Adam to Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, where I had gone hiking with my cousin about a year ago. We hiked the same Boat Canyon trail that I had done once before. I knew it’d be a hard workout with beautiful Pacific views!

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The out-and-back 8-mile trail took us 3 hours to complete. We were both pretty smoked afterwards, so we headed into town looking for some eats to refuel with.


We landed at Banzai Bowls, where I got a massive acai fruit bowl with protein added in for some extra re-fuel power. The granola and fruit was awesome; the acai smoothie part itself was just okay, it lacked flavor. Adam got a smoothie at Bonzai Bowls and wanted something else more filling, so we also ordered a small pizza at a spot next door to Banzai. Then we headed to the beach a block over to watch the sunset.

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A day that ends with pizza on the beach at sunset is a good one in my book! Even though my acai bowl was huge, my stomach felt like a bottomless pit post-workout, so I also noshed on a slice of pizza on the beach.


It was such a fun day, and the sunset was incredible! I sat there enjoying it and feeling very grateful. Afterwards, we headed back home and were exhausted couch potatoes for the night. We’ve been watching a series about Pablo Escobar called Narcos on Netflix, and we watched three episodes in a row and finished up the series.


Harley napping on Saturday

Saturday was a rare and wonderful day of being lazy. It was a rainy, cozy day, and I mostly did a lot of online holiday shopping and watched football by the fire. After hiking 15 miles in 2 days, a rest day was in order, and the most activity I got on Saturday was taking the pup for a walk at the park. I made easy orzo vegetable soup for dinner, and we stayed home on Saturday night and watched a movie. Such low-key days don’t happen often, and it was definitely a day of resting & recharging!


Sunday was full of some of my normal start-of-the-week things, like working out while watching football, cleaning the house, working on some blog stuff and doing laundry. It also got pretty festive feeling around here, as we bought a Christmas tree and put up all of our indoor decorations.


I love the holiday season, and it’s so nice to have everything decorated! I especially love checking out all of my ornaments that commemorate the milestones in our lives. I cant believe this holiday season marks the third one since we became homeowners.

And that’s all she wrote on my Thanksgiving weekend!

Tell me… What workouts did you do over the weekend? Did you make any standout recipes for Thanksgiving? Any TV shows that you’ve been into lately? 

11 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Weekend 2016: Hiking, Relaxing & Feeling Grateful!

  1. David @ Spiced

    Now that is my kind of weekend, Nicole! Got out and exercised a bit with Harley, ate some delicious food (thanks for the PB Pie shout-out!) and then took naps while watching football. Harley looks like one pooped pup! 🙂 Glad you guys had such an awesome weekend, and I hope your week is off to a good start so far! Only a few more weeks til we get to stop and take a break for Christmas!!

  2. Ashley

    It sounds like you had an absolutely fantastic Thanksgiving weekend!! And happy birthday Harley!!! I love that picture of her napping 🙂 Huge yay for three bean salad! I haven’t made that since the spring / summer!! Must make again soon…

  3. Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health

    Happy birthday to pretty Harley girl! She doesn’t look a day over 1. 😉

    Your whole weekend looked amazing. That peanut butter pie- holy deliciousness! We did a hike as well but the day after Thanksgiving. It definitely helps make up for eating all of that food!

    1. foodielovesfitness Post author

      Harley appreciates the compliment! On that note, she has white fur under her chin, and the other day my hubby was saying that it must be because she’s getting older…. but then I happened to see a puppy picture of her, & it turns out she’s always had white hair there. Ha!

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