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Napa Valley California Anniversary Getaway {Part II}

Last night while conversing with my friend over dinner she said, "I'll be off this Monday..." which prompted me to ask her why? Is it a holiday?  Believe it or not, to my shocking surprise, I did not realize that it's already Labor day weekend! One of the downfalls of being self-employed is that you don't really keep a calendar where you X each day praying for the holidays with their long weekends to come so you can get a breather. Self-employment means you're constantly working even when you think you're not. At least that's how it is in my case. However, the thought of Labor day weekend made me so excited cause in my mind it means FALL time is right around the bend! This is the one season where I feel the happiest and most relaxed, especially when I'm surrounded by beautiful fall leaves and crisp autumnal air. As I leave you to enjoy your long weekend, I wanted to take the time to post the second part of our Napa Valley California anniversary getaway as promised. Retrieving such great memories help to allay the days that make me feel stressed, overwhelmed, sad or anxious because leading a really busy life can many times make us forget our most appreciative moments.

Continuing to the next favorite destination - San Francisco...

...couldn't leave the west coast without making a pilgrimage to a city that is dear to us which we have not seen in the last three years. Walking through the streets, driving up those steep iconic hills, filled us with great memories that will hold us for a good while. And of course visiting SF wouldn't be complete without shopping at a vintage store, so I made my rounds and walked away with a great piece of fashion memorabilia by means of a soft pastel retro blouse that I'm sure will eventually make its way onto here in an outfit post. I certainly could not be in SF and leave without feasting on some great oysters at one of those lovely restaurants in the Ferry Building before we turned in for our hotel stay which brought us back to President Truman's time. Think federal style decor - seriously, the one thing that was missing was the polished high tea cart with all the crumpets being wheeled in the room as I awoke. I guess the hubby wanted to keep it real.

Monterey made it onto our anniversary excursion. It's been 15 years since the first time we went during our 3rd year anniversary. As we approached, I felt this immediate rush of excitement and some long-forgotten experiences flooding my mind. Being able to return again after such a long time really made our anniversary vacation extra special. It was like coming full circle. I tell ya, every time we decide to explore our own country, it never fails to reinforce us how beautiful the U.S. is - solidifying that you don't need to go to far away places all the way to across the world to enjoy incredible vacations and amazing scenery while creating unforgettable memories.

Cambria was one of the most quaint seaside little towns that we got to spend a day and 1/2 at a Bed and Breakfast alongside the ocean. We chatted and drank wine with other visitors in the B+B's rustic living room as we gazed at the ocean through large windows spanning the whole length of the house (couldn't take a snapshot of that particular moment with my phone cause there was no internet connection there whatsoever, which was great! It helped us to totally decompressed, live in the moment and rest the brain from all the electronic noise). The purpose of a vacation to begin with, right?!

Within all this beauty however, there was this haunting reality there for the residents - extreme drought. Although we only passed a little bit of time there, we were affected nonetheless. We felt the heaviness of the town's predicament as all hotels forbade the use of any jacuzzis, restaurants aren't allowed to even offer water, the patrons have to ask for it. What made me feel real sad was when we made our way up to the amazingly gorgeous Hearst Castle only to find out their public bathrooms have been shut down in the past month due to water shortage. Porta potties (which by the way made me hold my liquid for record time...I definitely tapped into my inner Camel abilities) are the new fixtures instead. The beautiful massive pools were drained out until this happened causing an uproar by residents. Examples like these show that disasters are caused more often by greed and resource mismanagement rather than by too much or too little rainfall.

A few of my favorite highlights of Hearst Castle...

 oh, the occasional sighting of either these Himalayan Tahr Goats, or rocky mountain elk, llamas and even zebras.

I'm definitely grateful for experiences like these as this life is not only short, but very unpredictable. Nothing is permanent or guaranteed. It's important to create the opportunities and enjoy every journey, every step, every moment - never putting what can be enjoyed and done today for tomorrow. On that note:

Have a long happy weekend. Be safe, have fun, don't be wasteful, make plenty of memories and always remember that kindness is the most stylish accessory you can ever display.


Free Spirited Summer

Free People Embroidered Top, Hudson Jeans, Steve Madden Booties, Balenciaga Bag, Michael Kors Bracelet, Vintage Cat Eye Sunglasses

Sorry my dear readers that my posts have been a little haphazard lately! Trust me, when I don't get to post, I not only feel that I let the thousands+ of you that do visit my little space here down, but I get sad as this space is one of my outlets to keep inspired, expressing myself through fashion, design and the simple pleasures of life. Unfortunately, my day-to-day responsibilities, work projects, and volunteer work have absorbed a lot of my time, plus the hubby and I are in the midst of some big changes that will leave me with even less time and sleep for a good while (and no - we are not having a baby), but I will do my best to take a breather when I can and try to actually write some of my endless post drafts and ideas that have been sitting on my computer's desktop.

Anyway, how has your summer been going thus far? Hope you've been enjoying it and making fun memories. It's been real hot and humid out here in LA. Being from the east coast where humidity is expected that oftentimes induces grunting and moaning on my part while trying to lay low in it at all cost, I sure didn't expect the west coast to be as sticky as it has been this summer. Thank goodness I had enough foresight to have invested early on (way before summer started) in some nice free loose fitting, free flowing tops, like this Free People embroidered top, which makes me feel very free spirited as soon as I put it on. The easy breezy free flowing light fabric of it makes it one of my favorite purchases this year that has kept me well-ventilated with the occasional breezes. If you live where it's really hot - what has been your go-to fashion staple that's keeping you cool this summer?

Happy Monday!


Napa Valley California Anniversary Getaway {Part I}

As you know last week we celebrated our anniversary. We decided to take a vacation to explore some places that have long been on our wish list to visit for over a decade now. Wow!! It was the kind of getaway that definitely made it on to our treasured list of moments we will forever remember and cherish as a couple, not to mention the gazillion beautiful photos of that wonderful trip to reflect back on. I felt so grateful for what we experienced on this journey that I decided in lieu of my regular grateful moments' post today, I would share a few of my favorite highlights of what we enjoyed. It's also my way to keep the magic going as this is affording me the opportunity to sort through the photos that I haven't had a chance to look through since we have returned.

Even though throughout our marriage we always take stock of where we are in life and delight in being in each others company, that's even heightened when our anniversary rolls around because as you get older, the uncertainty of life is ever present, reminding us to not allow the rat race (although we work very hard) to take precedence over  what truly counts - and that is each other. As a result, we tend to have a month long celebration of achieving another year together. So we began our celebrating (prior to the driving exploration of the spots below via photos) with a  pre-anniversary luncheon at the Ivy, which featured a bottomless champagne pour while we waited for our table. Why can't every restaurant adopt this custom?

The Ivy in Beverly Hills...  

Packed up and headed out on our exploratory coastal drive heading to Napa Valley. First stopping point Paso Robles - once we got situated at our hotel room, we made our way downtown where we enjoyed an amazing lunch of Ceviche, pork medallion, huevos espanol: poached eggs, ham,  house brioche, Manchego cheese fondue (hubby's favorite) at La Cosecha Bar and Restaurant...great service by the way.

After a great brunch the next morning, we browsed some antique stores and picked up a pretty white vintage vase as a reminder of this cute little town, but after a day and half in Paso Robles (small population of 29,000) we continued en route to our next destination: Napa Valley.  There, we spent three days lounging, brunching, dining, leisurely driving to different wineries (our personal favorite was Castello Di Amorosa and you'll see why when you see the pictures below), but the ultimate bonus was the Napa Valley wine train.  That was something that had been on our must-do list for eons! If you haven't done it already, it should be a must on your bucket list, especially if you like fine dining paired with wine. Highly recommend!  

First day in Napa at our hotel. Isn't that cowhide ottoman divine? The next day our most anticipated moment of this trip couldn't have come any sooner - the Napa Valley wine train excursion...and boy, was it all that I expected and more! It felt like we were in a movie, especially with that amazing voice of Frank Sinatra playing in the background. Overcast day + wine + Frank Sinatra + tasty food = heavenlyyyy!!

I'm excited all over again as I sort through these photos. It's very hard to just post a couple on here. It was such a scenic place, which by the way reminded my husband and I of South Hampton in Long Island, New York - totally made us a bit nostalgic. The following day we had a relaxing brunch at Pacific Blues in Yountville V Market (partly seen here) before we spent the rest of the day cruising from one winery to the next.

First winery stop after brunch: Castello Di Amorosa... took our breath away. It felt as if we were in Italy all over again enjoying La Dolce vita. The only thing I would have loved to have in hand there besides wine was Gelato.

Sterling winery was recommended to us because of the gondola lift up to the winery itself, which afforded 360 degree beautiful views of the valley down below and Castello Di Amorosa in the far distance. However, I was terrified of looking down....needless to say, I required strong wine by the time I got off that swinging death trap in the sky. 

To be continued.... {due to picture overload of this getaway. Stay tuned for part II. There's some interesting things we found out on this trip that I'll share on here}.

Thanks for reading.