Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Napa/Sonoma Weekend Getaway

This past weekend I had the perfect getaway that I’ve been needing for quite some time. I’ve been working a lot over the last several months and I finally feel like I can take some time off to unwind. It seems like most of the time I travel it is to see family or do something really active. I really wanted to take a trip that was completely relaxing and enjoyable. So what better place to go than Napa for a little wine country getaway!
I talked my friend Meredith into joining me on this trip (it didn’t take much convincing). Meredith lives in San Francisco, so I flew into OAK on Thursday evening, she picked me up and we drove north to Sonoma County. I have a friend who owns a condo in Sonoma and he kindly offered to let us stay there for the weekend. It was so wonderful to have a beautiful home right in the valley in which to stay.

Let me outline what makes a Napa weekend perfectly relaxing:
- Don’t set an alarm. Wake up when you wake up. Make coffee and enjoy a lazy morning around the house.
- Visit at least 4 wineries during your weekend stay. There are more than 450 wineries in the Napa/Sonoma area, so just know that you’re going to have to make multiple trips to this area during your lifetime. This might have become my new top location for a second home!
- End your day of wine tasting with pizza from my local business, Mary’s Pizza.
- Watch plenty of Aubrey Hepburn movies including Roman Holiday and My Fair Lady.
- Go for a walk or a run around the neighborhood, but be careful not to get too lost in the unfamiliar neighborhoods.
- Enjoy strolling around the Sonoma Square, and maybe even stop to swing on the swing set.
- Listen to mixed CDs from the last 1990s early 2000s. Best enjoyed with the car windows rolled down.
- Bring your sunglasses and enjoy the 70 degree weather.
- Stop by Kirby Cove on your way home and enjoy the breathtaking views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline.
- Make sure to travel with a friend with whom you can be ridiculously silly and also have great conversations.
- Have someone amazing pick you up from the airport when you get home so that you’re not too sad that your weekend getaway is over.

unbelievably beautiful
our first stop: Cakebread Cellars

our fun wine tasting group

we were able to visit a friend who works in the Neyers Vineyards tasting room
champagne at Gloria Ferrer

enjoyed a delicious lunch at The Girl and the Fig

wine tasting and lawn games at Larson Winery

incredible view above San Fran
a great welcome home sign from a certain someone who greeted me at the airport
Winemaker for a Day
My friend and coworker Mike has taken up winemaking as a hobby, and a couple of weeks ago I was able to help him bottle his wine.  ORE Winery is operating out of SE Wine Collective here in Portland.  The wine has been fermenting in barrels for the past 8 months and is maturing into a fabulous Pinot Noir. 
filling up the bottles

Mike the winemaker, and helpers Mary, Robby and Matt

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Texas Birthday/Football Weekend

Last weekend I traveled to Texas for a surprise visit for my Mom's 60th birthday.  My dad and I were scheming about this for a little over a month, and we actually pulled it off without leaking the surprise to my mom.  Robby came with me to Texas, too, and we flew into Waco just in time for the Baylor vs. OU game.  My parents always go up to the Bear Club before the game so we surprised my mom by showing up there.  She was shocked!  Then we all headed out to the game to cheer on the Baylor Bears with 50,000 other fans.  I've never seen a Baylor game like this - it was amazing!  The Bears remained undefeated by winning 41-12.  Sic em!

It was pretty great to be home and in Floyd Casey Stadium

And great to see lots of Baylor friends
Carter, the Baylor sports guru, at his craziest

Robby's first Baylor game - he knew all of the chants and cheers by the end
Friday morning we met up with my Granddad and Barbara for breakfast at CafĂ© Cappuccino.  I hadn't seen them since last Christmas so it was great to spend some time together.  Then we headed over to Baylor campus to give Robby the quick tour.  I'm amazed at how much the campus has changed each time I go back!  Robby and I met up with Liesl and her husband and new baby and Hannah for lunch at Vitek's then stopped by Congress Clothing to get new tshirts to show our Baylor pride back in Oregon.  We had to get coffee at Common Grounds of course and my sweet friend Kimberly who recently bought CG sat down and chatted with us for a bit.

I loved getting to meet Liesl's 12 week old baby Scarlett, even if she did spit up on me a cry during this picture :) I can't believe my friends are moms!

Friday night we had a little birthday dinner for Mom at Sarah's house.  The Belfs came down from Dallas and Steve and Thanne were in town from Portland so they joined as well.  I put together a birthday project with my mom by having family and friends send in notes and pictures for us to tie onto balloons for her.  It turned out pretty great and she loved the sweet notes from everyone.

Could Henry be any cuter?!  Helping me set up the balloons.

lots of birthday notes!
Happy Birthday, Jammy!
Saturday was our day to really celebrate Mom.  We sent the boys off to the golf course, Dad took care of all four kids (way to go, Dad!) and Emily and Sarah and I took Mom to get manicures and pedicures then to shop for a new birthday outfit at Roots.  That night we all went to dinner at El Conquistador for Mom's birthday dinner.  Glad I got some good Tex Mex in while I was in Texas!  

the girls getting pampered

fun celebration
After a relaxing Sunday morning, Robby and I said goodbye to the family and headed down to Austin with Ross and Hannah to see a few more friends before flying out.  We met up with Whitney and Bill and Merrill and Chase and kids for lunch.  It was so great to be with this wonderful group of friends that I've known for so long.  My cousin Madison just moved from Portland to Austin a couple of weeks ago, so we stopped by his new place.  I sure do miss that guy, but it was great to see him and our friend Ben settled into their new city.  Then we all met up again for queso and margs at Hula Hut before Robby and I went to the airport to head back to Portland.
our Austin boys
the Hula Hut crew
It was a whirlwind of a weekend in Texas (it always seems to be that way), but it was a great weekend full of time with friends and family.  I'm so glad we were able to fly down to surprise my mom and celebrate her birthday!