Our first day in Napa Valley!

If you get the opportunity to date your husband, I highly recommend it. I had THE best time with Ryan celebrating our anniversary. The grandparents (thank the Lord for them!) watched all three of our kids while we lived it up … together. Everything we did was amazing – it was the wine, the food, but mostly the great company. I laughed more than I have in a long time. I actually forgot how funny my husband is. I really can’t stress this enough: Date your spouse! Here are a few stories from our first day in Napa.

We started the day at Bouchon Bakery. It’s Thomas Keller’s bakery and it did not disappoint. We were only stopping in for coffee, but when we saw all of the pastries lined up we couldn’t resist. You know when you wake up on day two and say, “Let’s go back!” that it’s a great bakery. Worth the visit if you’re in the area.

Bouchon Bakery

Bouchon Bakery

Bouchon Bakery

If you’re wondering, the coffee (aka the reason we came) was great too! Next stop: Duckhorn Vineyards. It was our first winery and it was the best start to the day. We showed up at 10am on a Monday and had the place to ourselves for the first hour. We were greeted with a private table on their porch (it felt like we were being invited into someone’s house) and indulged in great wine, good music and amazing views.

The vineyard cat, Kitter, was a highlight for us. She followed us around as we explored the vineyard and then perched herself onto the chair next to us. Our host for the day (James) was so welcoming. We spent about 2 hours here, just sipping wine, enjoying the breeze, chatting, laughing, and walking around the vineyard.

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Did you read the sign? We parked right next to this tree. As we were walking back to the car we read that this is the tree they make wine cork from. It was super “spongey” and cool to see up close.

Napa Valley Vineyards

After Duckhorn, we visited Dean and DeLuca to grab sandwiches and snacks for lunch. This place was awesome! You can pick up meats, cheeses and crackers for a day of tasting – along with cute gifts for friends back home.

Dean and Deluca Napa Valley

Dean and Deluca Napa

Dean and Deluca Napa

Dean and Deluca Napa
Dean and Deluca Napa

You’re not supposed to do this (so .. shhhh!) but we took our lunch across the street to V. Sattui and had a picnic lunch on their lawn. Someone told me this place wasn’t worth the trip, but I disagree. The grounds were beautiful and they had so many picnic tables, making it the perfect spot for a picnic lunch. You just aren’t supposed to bring outside food in because they have their own grocery shop inside (we didn’t know that until we got there). I fell in love with the rose bushes here – take a look at how beautiful they were.

napa valley mom blogger

napa valley mom blogger

napa valley mom blogger

napa valley mom blogger

Now, for the best views of the day! After lunch, we went to Joseph Phelps for another wine tasting. As we drove up the long windy, road we knew we were in for something great. We stepped into their winery and the huge oak barrels, cozy interior design and sophisticated ambiance made for a totally different experience than Duckhorn.

We learned a lot about their wine and even got to taste Backus – a super rare wine typically reserved for wine club members only due to its very limited supply. Insignia was one of my favorite wines and one that I may have to find back in Arizona. Except it’s about $200 per bottle. That’s okay, right honey? I could hear him gulp after I told him, “Wow! I really love this one.”

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Joseph Phelps

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joseph phelps

How handsome is he? I’m super lucky.

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joseph phelps mom blogger
Can you believe these views? We stayed here for about two hours and the only reason we left was to get some downtime back at the hotel before dinner. I highly recommend this winery (although it’s $75 for a tasting, per person) it was worth it. Speaking of dinner, GO TO BOTTEGA. Seriously. Go. It was the best Italian food we have had in a long time. Not to mention, half way through dinner Ryan slipped me a new Tiffany necklace for our anniversary. I’m telling you … this vacation was magic!

After dinner, we walked to the local market because I forgot to pack my toothbrush (I ALWAYS forget to pack my toothbrush) and on our way back we stopped at Bistro Jeanty – super small, French bistro in the town of Yountville. We sat on this little table outside, as we waited for our Uber, listening to the most amazing music. It felt like we were in Paris.

bottega in napa valley - mom blogger

bottega in napa valley - mom blogger

This one elderly couple walked out of the restaurant as we were sitting outside. The wife took one look us – I imagine we looked weird holding a brown paper sack (my toothbrush) – and raised her hands in the air and shouted, “This is why I love this town!!!” I’m not really sure what that meant, or how many cocktails she had, but I would like to think it was because this city evokes love and joy in everyone.

My Little California Girl

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We recently visited my soon-to-be sister in law in Newport Beach to celebrate her bridal shower (pics here) and while we were there, Kelsey and my mom visited the beach, naturally.

It was cold, but that made it even better because we had the beach to ourselves. It was Kelsey’s first time at the beach (since she was old enough to remember it) and it truly was a memorable day.

We splashed. We ran. We dipped our toes in. And this mom freaked out when I realized that five-year olds have no fear and just run straight for the water. Kelsey’s newest stuffed animal ,”Elsa” came along too. Here are some pictures from our day at Newport Beach.

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California

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California Trip with Kelsey

California trip

Mom and daughter on beach

Seashells

See all the seashells? She was on her hands and knees picking up every. single. shell that she could find. Thank you to The St. Regis Monarch Beach for gifting us this adorable sand bucket and shovel. It helped us pick “a thousand” seashells. And the gold nail polish? Her polish of choice at the salon earlier that day. I actually loved it on her, great taste this one has.

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California vacation with kids

boo stuffed animal at the beach

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We were on our way back to the car when we spotted this amazing brownie in the window of the Stuft Surfer Cafe. We had to go in and check it out. It kind of had our name written all over it.

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As we were walking out we ran into a couple who had a real life Elsa Boo dog! Kelsey introduced her dog to this one, named Nola. It was so cute! Thanks to this couple for letting us have five minutes with your dog.

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What a great day this was with my favorite girls! Until we meet again, California. It’s been real!

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Sabrina’s California Bridal Shower

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Amongst all the bridesmaids (yep, there’s ten of them – two not pictured) and the gorgeous bride (center, in white) there are three little flower girls in this photo. Kelsey included. If this moment captured is any indication of how this wedding is going to go, Sabrina and my brother, Shaun, will have the wedding of the year!

It was such a beautiful weekend in Newport Beach, showering my soon to be sister-in-law with love and presents. My mom and I took Kelsey out for a girls-only weekend and in addition to the bridal shower, we found time to go to the beach, get mani/ pedis, shop and dine out with Sabrina’s family. More pictures to come, but for now – here are a few favorites from the bridal shower.

Seriously (and I mean this from the bottom of my heart) it was one of the best bridal showers I’ve been to. So much love & laughter. We were celebrating my brother’s future wife, after all, so that played a huge role in how amazing the day was for my mom and I.

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The cutest Kate Spade bag you ever did see! One her best friends gave her this bag (she added the scarf) and you’re supposed to write in fabric pen your new last name. Great bridal shower gift idea!

Above this picture is Kelsey and her “new friends” – Taylor and Riley. They are also flower girls. Kelsey was super shy at first, but within about 20 minutes these girls were playing games by the pool and take pics with each other. See Riley trying to put her arm around Kelsey? Instant friends.

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I love you so much Sabrina, but you totally sucked at the games. She got about 3 questions right from, “How well does my groom know me?” Here she is with a giant wad of bubble gum in her mouth (she had to chew a piece for every wrong answer) thinking about her next question.

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And here we are, six months pregnant and counting. There’s no hiding this pregnancy anymore, Nolan was there in all his glory. This was truly a wonderful weekend. We are so thankful to all of Sabrina’s friends & family for making this a day to remember. Next up, the wedding!

The Best Resort (and drinks) in Coronado

Hotel Del Coronado

Hotel Del Coronado

Hotel Del Coronado

Hotel Del Coronado

I had a business meeting at the Hotel del Coronado last week. It was my first time at this historic resort. At first glance, I kind of felt like I was on a Disney cruise – with all of the kids running around, but then I got the reason why: The Del is a safe and beautiful place, steps from the beach. The amount of activities for kids (and adults) is unreal.

Hotel Del coronado

They have somewhere between six different restaurants, a comedy club (Laugh Factory), spa and a ton of little shops. Plus, it’s a true Southern California staple. The resort was beautiful, charming and exuded so much character. I will definitely be back to the resort … only next time, I’ll ditch the laptop back for a diaper bag and bring my family along for the ride.

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We had dinner at Eno Pizza & Wine bar at the Del and I had some of the best gluten-free pizza to-date. It was topped with fennel  sausage and charred broccoli and was the perfect compliment to a cool glass of wine, great conversation and a beachside sunset. I introduced Kelly to the art of taking a picture of everything you see. It’s true. I’m guilty.

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I wish I had more time because their Sheerwater restaurant looked pretty cute too. Prior to dinner we had cocktails at Sunset Bar. The group and I sipped on lavender lemonade, blackberry margaritas and white wine before calling it a night at the Laugh Factory (where we saw Biff from Back to the Future perform). I vote for all business meetings to end this way.

Hotel Del Coronado Hotel