Falling in love with Pinetop, Arizona

Pinetop, Arizona does not disappoint! Especially in the fall. Last weekend we took our kids to Pinetop to enjoy cooler temps, the golden leaves and to get a little R&R. The kids loved touring the Pinetop-Lakeside Fire Station, riding their bikes around the neighborhood and roasting s’mores by the fire. We are so lucky that we can drive 3 hours east of Phoenix and find fall!

many-hats-of-a-mommy-blog

Phoenix-mommy-blogger

Believe it or not, it was Nolan’s first time seeing golden leaves all over the ground. Every time Kelsey would throw leaves into the air, Nolan would gasp, “Ahhhhhh!” as they came crashing to the ground. He was in awe and I can’t say that I blame him. It was beautiful.

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Notice anything? She’s missing her third bottom tooth! She’s only lost the bottom row of teeth so far, which I love because I get so emotional when those things come out. I know, I know … it’s a mom thing.

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Nolan is twinning with his dad. Morning walks called for jackets and we were more than willing to comply .

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phoenix-mom-blogger

Phoenix-mommy-blogger

Morning walks around our cabin lead to moments like this where I just stop, stare and thank my lucky stars for kids like this.

Phoenix-mommy-blogger

Touring the fire station and getting to crawl into the firetruck was the highlight of the trip for the kids. A huge thank you to the Pinetop-Lakeside Fire Department for all they do for the community and for opening their ‘home’ to our kids. They provided hot dogs, burgers, snacks, fire prevention educational tips, a bounce house and lots of goodies for the kids. We had a blast!

phoenix-mom-blogger

phoenix-mom-blogger

phoenix-mom-blogger

phoenix-mom-blogger

phoenix-mom-blogger

Phoenix-mommy-blogger

Phoenix-mommy-blogger

How is it that she can sit on a curb, eat Cheetos and appear so much cooler than I will ever be. Sigh.

many-hats-of-a-mommy-blog

many-hats-of-a-mommy-blog

When the boys were napping, Kelsey and I walked around the neighborhood collecting leafs for a bouquet. As soon as she walked into the cabin she threw them across the counter and forgot all about them, but it was a fun game while it lasted.

many-hats-of-a-mommy-blog

many-hats-of-a-mommy-blog

phoenix mom blogger

many-hats-of-a-mommy-blog

Phoenix-mommy-blogger

I set up my camera on a timer and wanted one family photo. However, Colton is holding a hair brush. No one brushed Nolan’s hair. Kelsey is posing behind dad and I’m barely standing  after sprinting back into position after setting the camera’s timer. I love every bit of this photo though because it’s real life.

many-hats-of-a-mommy-blog

Phoenix-mommy-blogger

I caught a glimpse of Nolan throwing rocks into the lake with Ryan at sunset. It’s really cool to see Nolan hanging out with the big boys. He is walking everywhere and trying his hardest to keep up with his dad and brother.

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Phoenix-mommy-blogger

many-hats-of-a-mommy-blog

The last night we were in Pinetop, we walked over to the golf course and let the kids roll down the hills. You’re probably not allowed to do this so let’s keep that between us.

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Look at that determination in Nolan’s face to get up the hill! Meanwhile, his brother comes rolling down at record speed. He was so confused. ha.

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I’m framing this. He was trying to tell me that his pockets were “dirty” which then proceeded with a little giggle attack.

many-hats-of-a-mommy-blog

many-hats-of-a-mommy-blog

phoenix mom blogger

Now, let’s go back!

Family Fun at DisneyWorld

You guys. I just found this post I had drafted from 2015. I can’t believe this post has been hiding out and never got published. It put such a smile on my face to go through the stories I wrote and the photos I captured during the holidays at Disneyworld. This was before Nolan was born, Colton had just turned two (while we were there) and Kelsey was only four.

If you don’t mind … let’s take a trip down memory lane and go through some of my favorite family photos from our trip. However, a warning is in order: I really didn’t condense down the number of photos I wanted to post. Photo overload! Sorry in advance.

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disneyworld holidays

disneyworld holidays

disneyworld holidays

disneyworld holidays

disneyworld holidays

disneyworld holidays

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In December, along with my family, we spent one week at the Disneyworld Parks. We went to Epcot, Disneyworld, MGM Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We experienced the character breakfast the first morning at the Disneyworld Grand Floridian Hotel (totally reminded me of the Hotel Del). And the best part? The parks were decorated for the holidays! My faaaaaaaaaaaavorite time of year.

There was Starbucks in the park. Autographs by the characters. Larger than life Christmas trees. Nighttime parades. Fireworks. A few tantrums (from the kids and from me). Great Disney desserts. A few lost park passes (mom!) and so many smiles from ear to ear from our two little kids. Colton turned 2 during our trip, so it’s a bit of a blast from the past to see him looking so little in these pictures.

epcot family vacation

epcot family vacation

epcot family vacation

epcot family vacation

We went to Epcot for dinner on the first night. No one told me that you had to get reservations 6 months in advance. I booked our reservations 3 months out and thought I was getting a head start. Luckily, we got great reservations at the San Angel Inn Restaurante and it was a great first night out.

It reminded me a lot of the Blue Bayuo restaurant in Disneyland. It was a themed Mexican restaurant with a huge Mayan temple inside. It was just loud enough to where the kids were able to enjoy themselves (and me!) and the drinks and food were great. There is a ride inside and a gift shop (good luck getting past that without buying something) and it truly felt like an authentic Mexican experience.

Epcot family vacation
Epcot family vacation
epcot family vacation
Epcot family vacation
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We were back at Epcot the next morning. We had just gotten Starbucks when Colton saw this huge fountain. He immediately ran to it and watched the water “jump around.” Then, he decided to squat down and refused to move. Literally. He wouldn’t budge. I think he was like this for a good 5 minutes before we bribed him with, “Nanni’s over there! Let’s go find her!”

Nanni was quickly replaced though when we spotted our first characters at Epcot: Chip & Dale. Get your autograph books out! This was a real treat and one of Kelsey’s first times really getting the concept of getting their autograph. It was so precious to watch them anxiously wait in line for this moment.

Epcot Family Vacation
Epcot Family Vacation
Epcot family vacation

He actually did good in the long lines. Some moments were better than others, but what can you expect from an almost-two-year-old. He was a perfect gentleman, most of the time. Kelsey was on point, as always. I was just happy I wore my running shoes. Do you know how much walking you do at Disneyworld? We must have taken a gazillion steps each day.

finding nemo coral reef restaurant disneyworld

epcot family vacation
epcot family vacation
Those curls! And that smile. I remember his face looking like this like it was yesterday. The humidity only made those curls more magical.
epcot family vacation

epcot family vacation

We met up with Nanni and the crew for lunch at the Coral Reef Restaurant. I highly recommend reservations there if you have kids. It’s inside this huge aquarium and every seat as a great view of the sharks and fish swimming by. Colton loved it! After you exit, you can go on the Finding Nemo ride and see all the fish once more. Cute little place.

disneyworld first visit pin

Disneyworld Holidays
We went back to the main Disneyworld park that evening. It was like planes, trains and automobiles to get to into the park. You drive from your hotel to the park. Park your car. Grab the strollers. Stroll to the shuttle. Take the shuttle to your choice of the ferry or the monorail. Then stand in line to get into the gates.

Looking back though, I think getting to the park was one of the best parts for the kids. The ferry was so relaxing and cool to cruise over water as the park gets closer and closer. And the monorail was “so fast!” that Kelsey kept staring out the window in awe. Disney does that too you, doesn’t it? As parents you spend more time looking into your child’s eyes than you do experiencing the park yourself.

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Disneyworld Holidays with Kids

disneyworld during the holidays

Once you enter the Magic Kingdom and see all of the Christmas lights take over, it’s pretty remarkable. You smell the sweet scent of popcorn and hot chocolate, along with hearing Christmas carols and kids laughing for miles.

We window shopped as we walked down Maine Street, peeking inside and seeing little Disney music boxes sing and ornaments glow on little Christmas trees. Then, we made our way to the castle – the most magical thing in the place.

disneyworld during the holidays
disneyworld during the holidays

disneyworld holidays with kids
disneyworld holidays kids

disneyworld holidays kids

Disneyworld with Kids

disneyworld with kids during the holidays

We were back at it again the next morning! At this point, I thought for sure I would have lost 10lbs with all of the walking that we did, but then I remembered … the Mickey Mouse popsicles, chocolate covered bananas, churros and all of that other amazingly horrible food for you that you just have to indulge in while at Disneyworld. It’s like a right of passage.

disneyworld main street usa

disneyworld
disneyworld | many hats of a mom blog
disneyworld | many hats of a mom blog

disneyworld | many hats of a mom blog

Before a storm rolled in that left us SOAKED she was able to convince Grandpa to ride the merry-go-round with her. Carousels, tea cups, and this mom do not mix. So, I was happy to sit this one out. Thanks, Grandpa.

disneyworld | many hats of a mom blog

disneyworld | many hats of a mom blog
disneyworld mom blogger
disneyworld | many hats of a mom blog
Disneyworld has some of the best people watching. Am I right? Like this guy with the selfie stick. I can’t tell you how many selfie sticks we saw at the park. A sign of the times, don’t you think?

disney family vacation mom blogger

By the time we got to MGM Studios for their nighttime holiday shows, I was so incredibly tired. Tired of walking. Strolling. Bribing the kids to behave. All of it. I may have thrown a little adult tantrum right when we walked in. After a few minutes, my husband was able to snap me out of my terrible mood so we could enjoy the night. He’s kind of perfect like that. We saw some remarkable Christmas light displays and then wandered into a Fantasmic! Firework show.

mgm disney vacation mom blogger

disney holidays

mgm disney holidays

Then it was off to Disney’s Animal Kindgom to celebrate Colton’s second birthday! It did not feel like December, it felt like summer, and the crowds were a bit out of control, but when you look back – you never really remember all of that. You just remember these moments that make you smile from ear to ear.

disney animal kingdom mom bloggers
disney animal kingdom mom bloggers
Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom 2
disney animal kingdom mom bloggers
Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom
animal kingdom
Animal Kingdom 3
Animal Kingdom
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The next night, Ryan and I snuck off for an aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamazing dinner at Victoria & Albert’s. It’s this fancy pants restaurant located at one of the Disneyworld resorts. My brother and his wife gave us a $400 gift card to dine here + they babysit the kids for us. I mean, how could we not be smiling from ear to ear after this evening?

victoria and alberts orlando

victoria and alberts orlando restaurant

Then it was back to parenthood and another few days in Orlando. What an amazing vacation this was! Memories to last a lifetime, that is for sure. Tantrums and all.

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Update: We are looking to take a Disneyland trip in the Fall with all three kids (are we crazy?) and I look forward to any and all of your recommendations.

See more of my posts from past Disney family trips here, here and here,

Summer in Sedona with our Kids

Sedona with kids - phoenix mom bloggers

What a great weekend! We visited Sedona for the very first time and had such a great experience. Ryan and I took our oldest kids (baby Nolan stayed home with the grandparents) to see this scenic place. It was my first time visiting Sedona (I know. I know!) and Ryan went when he was little, so we’ll call this his first time too.

As we approached the city, we started to see some of the most gorgeous red rocks. They were all around! The kids thought Sedona looked like Disney’s Cars Land and we were blown away by the beauty of it all. For some reason we had envisioned a few rocks here and there, but nothing like what we saw. We felt like we were living inside of a postcard.

orchards inn sedona hotels

We were fortunate enough to be invited up by Orchards Inn, a super quaint 70-room Inn located in the middle of Uptown Sedona. Right when Colton walked into the lobby he immediately ran to the patio and said, “Whoa! Mom, come look at this!” He was staring at “Snoopy Rock” and it was truly a sight to be seen.

orchards inn family friendly sedona hotels

The view from Orchards Inn had to be one of the best views from any Sedona hotel. I can’t imagine a better one.

sedona many hats of a mom blog

Just look at the Red Rocks reflecting off of our patio window! I think Ryan could have sat in those chairs every morning and evening just taking it all in. These huge patios made our room feel so spacious.

orchards inn family friendly sedona hotels

orhcards inn family friendly sedona hotel

many hats of a mom blog | sedona with kids

Every morning these two would overlook the pool and people watch. At night, we took blankets over to the hotel’s wedding lawn and watched the stars in the sky. The kids played with this constellation app on our iPhones and had so much fun pointing out Scorpio, Leo, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Ryan loved explaining what everything was. He’s such a science junkie. Mom on the other hand knew where the moon was and that’s about it.

orchards inn sedona hotels

I don’t know how she does it, but she manages to pose on the fly. “Kelsey, smile” somehow turns into a pointed toe, arms up in the air and a throw back of her head. I love her so much.

This picture was snapped on our way to dinner on Friday night. Directly across the street from our hotel is 89Agave – a super cute Mexican restaurant with – you guessed it – amazing views of the red rocks.

Agave89 Sedona Restaurants

I’m on the Whole 30 diet for the next 14 days so I got to watch as the kids devoured amazing cheesy dishes at this great Sedona restaurant and envied Ryan’s orange cinnamon margarita. The best part about the restaurant, for the kids, was this oversized chalkboard wall where Kelsey wrote her name and Colton drew a circle. Ha!

89agave sedona dining

89agave sedona restaurants for kids
89agave sedona restaurants for kids

89agave sedona restaurants for kids

89agave sedona restaurants for kids

89agave sedona restaurants for kids

89agave sedona restaurants for kids

89agave sedona restaurants for kids
After dinner we walked up and down the main street looking at all of the shops and touristy things. We listened to street music, grabbed ice cream at Black Cow Cafe and counted how many Pink Jeeps we could find.

phoenix mom blog sedona with kids

uptown sedona mom blog

sedona with kids mom blogger

sedona with kids - many hats of a mom blog

 

 

Sedona Many Hats of a Mom Blog

Day 2 we woke up and went to West Fork Hiking Trail. It’s $10 to park (cash only!) and we recommend arriving early – as the parking lot was full when we left. West Fork hiking trail is 3.3 miles (one way) and if you hike the entire trail, you’ll cross the river 13 times. We made it across 5 times before the kids wanted to head back. Mostly because mom left the snacks sitting on our hotel room bed. Mom fail!

About three steps into our hike back to the car, the kids requested piggy back rides. We really didn’t mind because this trail was shaded, pretty tame and super scenic. If you’re in Sedona with kids, I would recommend this hike. Maybe not with a toddler on your back, but nonetheless, it was a fantastic hike for our little ones.

west fork sedona hike with kids

west fork sedona hike with kids

west fork sedona hike with kids

Do you see Colton down there? He was yelling, “Echo! Echo!” at this little sparrow that was sitting on a rock. I told him he could hear is echo so apparently he kept saying “Echo” so he could hear it. Makes sense.

west fork sedona hiking trail with kids

west fork sedona hike with kids

west fork sedona hiking trail with kids

west fork sedona hike with kids

After the hike, we were starving! We randomly stopped at Indian Gardens because there was a sign on the front that said, “Deli”. To our surprise, this place was super charming and filled with healthy breakfast and lunch items. It reminds me of a restaurant back in Phoenix. There is indoor and outdoor seating and these amazing cupcakes that I just stared out while ordering my boring black coffee and egg whites.

many hats of a mom blog | sedona with kids

many hats of a mom blog | sedona with kids

sedona restaurants mom blogger

many hats of a mom blog | sedona with kids

many hats of a mom blog | sedona with kids

sedona restaurants mom blogger

After our hike, we took the kids swimming back at Orchards Inn and then Ryan, Kelsey and Colton took … ready for this … a three-hour nap! I couldn’t believe it. Apparently hiking + sun + chlorine is a recipe for a very peaceful afternoon for mom.

On Saturday night, we decided to celebrate Father’s Day a day early at the Orchard Inn’s sister hotel, L’Auberge de Sedona. We ate at Etch Kitchen & Wine Bar which was located along the creek. Besides the ‘tude I got from Kelsey on the walk down to the hotel (see below), it was a great way to cap off an already amazing weekend. I know I’m saying a lot of adjectives that sound the same in this blog post but I can’t stress enough how great this weekend was.

sedona with kids - many hats of a mom blog

sedona with kids mom blogger

Thanks Kelsey for snapping this picture of us. She even said, “Wait” and climbed up a few stairs so she would be tall enough to shoot the camera directly at us. Well done, sister.sedona with kids - many hats of a mom blog

sedona with kids - many hats of a mom blog

sedona with kids - many hats of a mom blog

sedona with kids - many hats of a mom blog

Celebrating one of the best dad’s there is!

sedona family vacation mom blogger

sedona family vacation mom blogger

After dinner, our GPS took us to “Chapel Cross Trail” which we thought would make for a great evening hike. Turns out, it’s actually a chapel and dead ends you into a residential neighborhood. As we were getting out of the car to watch the sunset, Colton stepped on a cactus. In true Stephanie fashion, I left the first-aid kit (which I literally packed for every type of situation) in the hotel room. This was starting to be a theme on this trip.

Ryan quickly pulled out the cactus and wrapped my jacket around his leg to stop the bleeding. He was so brave and said, “It’s okay mom. I feel so much better now.” We promised him any kind of ice cream he wanted for being so brave – to which he picked mint chocolate chip. We ended the night at Baskin Robins with a bloody jacket and super happy kids. Truly a Father’s Day for the books!

 

sedona red rocks - phoenix mom blogger

sedona red rocks - phoenix mom blogger

sedona red rocks - phoenix mom blogger

Ryan shot this photo from our car window! I love it because it really sums up the weekend. On the car ride back, we stopped by the famous Rock Springs Cafe and picked up a few slices of pie (courtesy of our hotel) and two pies for Father’s day. If you’re making the drive to Sedona, this is a great pit stop along the way.

sedona with kids - many hats of a mom blog

Thank you to Orchads Inn and 89Agave for hosting us for two nights and one lovely dinner! It’s a summer family vacation we’ll treasure forever.

Napa Valley Blues, Greens and Merlots

silver oak napa valley blogger

silver oak napa valley bloggersilver oak napa valley blogger

You may recognize this water tower from the Silver Oak logo – it’s not a functioning tower any more, but it sure looks nice! We visited Silver Oak Vineyards on day two. One of my sorority sisters gave me a bottle of Silver Oak Merlot for my bridal shower (over 8 years ago!) and we drank it on our first wedding anniversary. Silver Oak has been a special wine of ours ever since.

silver oak napa valley blogger
silver oak napa valley blogger

silver oak napa valley blogger

silver oak napa valley blogger

Can you believe their wine was $6 per bottle when it first debuted in the ’70’s … and that was considered expensive! Most wine was being sold under a dollar. I loved this bit of history during our winery tour. For $30 per person, you can do a signature tasting & tour – they also throw in complimentary wine glasses.

napa valley

silver oak napa valley blogger

silver oak

silver oak napa valley blogger
silver oak napa valley blogger
napa valley
After Silver Oak we didn’t have any plans until late afternoon. Sometimes that’s the best part of vacation, right? Throwing out any form of a schedule and just ‘going’. That’s so hard of me to do since I’m such a Type A personality, but I’m so glad we did it because we found the most amazing restaurant, Farmstead. We heard it was one of only a few REAL farm-to-table restaurants in the U.S. Either way, we are certain they are to blame for our 6lb weight gain this trip.

Farmstead Napa Valley Travel Blogger
I mean … just look at Ryan’s Pulled Pork sandwich! This is the kind of stuff you order here. You don’t come to Farmstead to get a salad. Although, I’m sure that’s good too.

Farmstead Napa Valley Travel Blogger

Farmstead Napa Valley Travel Blogger

Like my purple lipstick? That’s called Cabernet and it was all over my teeth too. Who cares. We’re in Napa!

farmstead napa valley travel blogger

Farmstead Napa Valley Travel Blogger
farmstead napa valley restaurants
If I could do it again, I would come back at sunset – I can only imagine how romantic it is at night with all of the lights and live music outdoors. The Farmstead property and on-site market was so charming! So much so that I turned to Ryan and told him, “THIS is what I want our home to feel like.” Yep. I have been officially inspired to re-do our house and our backyard to feel like the Farmstead. You know, minor details.

farmstead napa valley restaurants

farmstead napa valley restaurants

napa valley travel mom blogger

napa valley travel mom blogger

napa valley travel mom blogger
napa valley travel mom blogger

A little game of horseshoes, some local caramel and we were on our way to our next stop, Caymus Vineyards. 

caymus napa valley

caymus vineyards

By this time the heels had come off, the flats were on and the purple/ Merlot stained smile was in full effect. Our next stop was Frog’s Leap Vineyards. The wine wasn’t our favorite, but the view, the vibe, the people … their dog, Abbie, all of those other factors made this one of the best places we visited! They gave us a complimentary Sauvignon blanc and some apple butter from their garden for our Anniversary. The best way to end a day of tasting!

frogs leap vineyards

frogs leap napa mom blogger

frogs leap napa mom blogger

frogs leap napa mom blogger
Forget for a moment that this is the cutest vineyard ever, with the most relaxing vibe, but then throw in Abbie – the owners dog. She is the cutest, raggiest thing and I may have been following her around yelling her name more than once. I mean … look at her. When she finally sat down and curled up at my feet, I almost lost it with excitement.

frogs leap vineyards in napa valley blog

frogs leap napa valley

frogs leap napa mom blogger

frogs leap

frogs leap napa mom blogger

frogs leap napa valley
And then – this is every husband’s dream – I made Ryan wear their vineyard hats. These hats are reserved for people on tours to shade them from the sun … but, I really think they’re reserved for moments when you’ve had a little too much to drink and you want to look amazing while walking around. Right, Ryan? He. Looks. Ridiculous. I was literally crying, I was laughing so hard.

frogs leap napa valley

frogs leap chickens

frogs leap napa mom blogger

Now, who wants to watch all three of our kids so we can make this an annual thing. 🙂 Seriously, one of the best vacations I have had (have I said that enough?). If you haven’t been to Napa, you should make the trip. It’s remarkable how beautiful nature can be.

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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Napa Valley Vineyards 2

Napa Valley Vineyards 3

Napa Valley Vineyards 4

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Napa Valley Vineyards 1

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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 3

Joseph Phelps

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Joseph Phelps 2

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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.

Work (and play) in Las Vegas

I was just in Las Vegas for work and I would love to tell you that I snapped all kinds of photos, but I didn’t. I failed. We went to the Mob Museum (Goooo! It’s that good), stayed at the SLS Las Vegas, strategized about Starwood, and had a night out on the Strip. Work life is a bit shook up right now with the Marriott/ Starwood merger, but we’ll get through it. It was so great to see my work family in person. We are spread out in different offices around North America, so getting together is a big deal. Going on 8 years with this company. Can you believe it?

las vegas

las vegas

las vegas

las vegas mom blog

las vegas

las vegas

las vegas

las vegas

las vegas mom blog

las vegas mom blog

las vegas mom blog
las vegas mom blog

las vegas

Winter in Aspen

On Tuesday, I flew to Aspen for business meetings. I was only in town 24 hours before driving to Steamboat Springs to meet with another hotel. Even though my trip was short, it was truly one of the most scenic business trips I have experienced.

I’ve been to Aspen before, except last time I visited in the fall. The town is so different in the winter months. It’s full of activity, adventure, skiing, fur coats, chilly nights, and some of the whitest snow and brightest blue skies that I have seen. .

the st regis aspen colorado - many hats of a mom blog

After the longest-shortest flight of my life (the flight from Denver to Aspen was 27 minutes, but we spent over 2 hours total on the tarmac and another hour waiting at baggage claim), I arrived at The St. Regis Aspen Resort. This was a monumental feeling. I had arrived!

st regis aspen travel blog

st regis aspen travel blog

st regis aspen travel blog

st regis aspen travel blog

The perfect magazine to describe this resort, it was BEYOND beautiful.

the st regis aspen colorado - many hats of a mom blog

the st regis aspen colorado - many hats of a mom blog

Once I arrived in Aspen I met up with my colleague, Andrea. She loves to ski (and doesn’t have three kids) so she arrived on Saturday and got some time on the mountain. It was our first work trip together and I can’t tell you how much fun we had! It’s all about the people you work with, wouldn’t you agree?

aspen mountain family blogger

aspen mountain family blogger

aspen mountain family blogger

As we were walking to Justice Snow’s for dinner, we spotted this cute little donut cart. I mean … and yes, we did take one dozen donuts into the restaurant and devoured them before actually ordering dinner. They had peanut butter and jelly donuts, maple & bacon donuts, powdered sugar … see what I mean.

aspen mountain family blogger

the st regis aspen colorado - many hats of a mom blog

the st regis aspen colorado - many hats of a mom blog

If you think the St. Regis Aspen lights up at night, you should see her in the morning. Just before sunrise, I woke up and looked out my window to see the most beautiful shade of gold shining through the resort’s windows. The town was so quiet; the only sound I could hear was a light breeze and snow falling off of the trees. What a great way to wake up. And so … after a morning of meetings, Andrea and I walked around downtown to get one last look at this magical town.

Aspen Mountain

the st regis aspen colorado - many hats of a mom blog

the st regis aspen colorado - many hats of a mom blog

This doggie in the window! I couldn’t resist.

the st regis aspen colorado - many hats of a mom blog

aspen mom blog

aspen mountain family blogger

aspen mountain travel blog

aspen mom blog

aspen

Aspen Mountain

On the drive to Steamboat Springs, we saw deer EVERYWHERE. Our friend, colleague and driver (thanks, Brian!) kept pointing out the animals to me the entire drive. It was like I was a toddler or something. I got so excited to see these amazing creatures. The fact that some people hunt them … well, that’s for a different post.

steamboat springs sunset

This was my view of the sunset in Steamboat Springs, Colorado at the Sheraton Steamboat Resort. The resort has ski-in/ski-out access so you really can’t get much closer than this. Until next time, Colorado …

Travel Inspiration for your Wednesday

My friend has a serious case of Wanderlust. She loves to travel, explore, embark on new adventures and invest in new experiences. Recently, she convinced her husband to pack up their life and travel through Southeast Asia for six months. Here’s a peek at their travel route. They covered so much ground!

tings-travel-route-28-12-10 (1)

Even though she is now in Central America on another adventure, she took time to write an article for me on spgweekends.com, a site that inspires travel. The article (click here to read it) is about her six months trip. It includes the most commonly asked questions she was asked – How did you afford this? Why did you do it? Did you quit your job? It’s a must-read if you’re looking for a little travel inspiration (or if you have a case of Wanderlust yourself).

Enjoy!