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Long Island Wine Tasting Tour 2016

Long Island Wineries: Sparkling Pointe_Macari_Raphael_Grand Ole_Osprey Dominion

For the most part, I would much rather spend each day close to home celebrating and doing something I enjoy, instead of making a one time trip to a far-off locale, though that too has its place. So breaking up this anniversary by exploring something new (to us) locally, made awakening each morning a lot more exciting. Once our getaway destination was decided, the wine tasting tour of course had to be included on the itinerary. Given that one of our favorite pastimes is to explore different wineries (mostly on the west coast), we thought it was time we gave our own hometown a chance to see if we could finally discover a wine that we can also claim as one of our favorites, or really one of my faves now that the hubby is allergic to wine (such a bummer).

Our personal limo tour started at 10am and lasted till 5pm, so we had a good amount of time to stop at quite a few wineries. After all, Long Island boasts well over 50 wineries (considerably more than ten years ago when we lived there) and is the 3rd largest wine growing region in America. There's definitely a wine or two or three for every taste bud. Out of them all, there were certain ones that stood out, but only one made the favorite list. Obviously everyone's palate differs, therefore my picks might not be to someone else's preference. As someone who is into a buttery smooth Malbec or a refreshingly sweet white wine like, Reisling and Gewurztraminer, I'm sure you'll understand what swayed my wine choices listed here. 

Also bear in mind, that my picks are based on only the few wineries we did get to stop in and visit, which means we only scratched the surface. For me, aside from discovering a great tasting wine that can be added into my repertoire of favorites, the entire experience is equally as important. Wineries with staff that are friendly, fun and leave you wanting to return make the entire experience memorable and worthwhile.

Osprey Dominion, a very understated winery with limp service. 
From the wine mixture tasting we did, the one that stood out to me and I would recommend is the Sauvignon blanc late harvest. It would pair nicely with savory food - think goat cheese and foie gras.

Macari Vineyards, aside from the pretty bottle displays upon entering into what feels like a supermarket, this place was uninviting. Between, the flies everywhere and the unfriendly staff, it was a dreadful experience that forced you to gulp down your wine flights as fast as possible. The only reason why I remember the one red wine that I liked, was because I made sure to write it down after we left the place. Which red you ask? The Collina Merlot. It's close to a Malbec in taste and body.

Sparkling Pointe, we stopped at this particular vineyard to indulge the hubby's preference for sparkling wine. The decor of this place was totally unexpected and a breath of fresh air. The glitzy modern decor complemented by the scenic views of the vineyards out back in the garden captured our heart. Though we didn't find or come out with a favorite sparkling wine, we were captivated by the sights nonetheless - making it a memorable relaxing spot where we enjoyed sipping on a few bubbly's with caviar overlooking the grounds. 

Raphael wineryhowever,  was the highlight of our tour and comes in at number one! I highly recommend this winery for its good wine, great tasting food, friendly service and overall charm. From the architectural Mediterranean style building (makes you think you're in Italy) and the friendly servers, to their excellent marguerite flatbread (and I'm not into flatbreads but I've been craving theirs since...that's how good they are), this place certainly delivers an unforgettable wine tasting experience. My favorite wine pick from their white wine flight is their 2013 late harvest Riesling. I really enjoyed that.

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Girl In The Moment

Often we become so focused and busy watching out for what's ahead of us that we fail to take time to do the things we enjoy. At times, a little reminder is what we need to reset our thinking. That's why I appreciate the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, "the purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience." As an individual who lost her young mother and newborn siblings unexpectedly at the tender age of 11, this taught me that life is fleeting. There's a proverb that says "as mortal man, our days are like those of grass that blooms like a blossom of the field, but when a wind blows, it is no more, as though it was never there." It is a reminder that life is short, time is fast, no replay, no rewind and we get no refund on an unused life. Plus, one never knows when things might change. Hence, how important it is to give oneself the permission to stop for a breath and come up for air. One such place that granted this was Sagamore Hill, where looking back at history, taking in the scenery of simpler bygone days, allowed us to unwind, meditate and reflect appreciatively on all that we have.

Summer Maxi Dress and Lucky Brand Crochet Lace Wedges Wide Brim woven Cat Eye Sunglasses

Onto this outfit: This maxi dress and wedges are such comfortable pieces, I found myself living in them for a good part of August, especially on those dog days of summer. With a few swap of accessories, like adding this hat and sunglasses to protect the face from the sun, made getting dress a cinch and kept things feeling breezy.

Theodor Roosevelt White House at Sagamore Hill Long Island, NY

H&M Maxi Dress (similar here, here and here) | Lucky Brand Crochet Lace Wedges | Bebe Snakeskin Foldover Clutch (old - similar) | Wide Brim Hat (old - similar here and here)| Cat-Eye Sunglasses (old - similar here and here)

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Grateful Moments

1. New decor projects inspiration

Spending the last five days driving across the country on vast open roads surrounded by pure wilderness and wetlands, was such a welcome change from the frenzied energy of the city where a narrow vision of life can easily develop. It felt as if we'd escaped the turbulent world and left it behind...briefly existing in our own little peaceful cocoon. Such a release is a reminder of how incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don't. I couldn't be any more excited for some of the new changes on the horizon. I wish you a refreshing weekend. Make an effort to slow down and recharge your battery.

Grateful Moments_Happy Everything Journal
2. One of my favorite journals sitting on my desk 
to break my non-happy thoughts.

3. Another favorite item on my desk 
that makes my day all better.

4. One of the most cherished moments: 
breaking this bread at with friends that are better than family. 
Who knew this could be so addictive.

5. Finally arrived, but this time I'm not leaving.



Many times we sit and wish we could be vacationing in some faraway places when meanwhile, you might have so many hidden gems of beauty right there all around you. As humans, we have the tendency to focus on what we don't have and take what we do have for granted. We've all heard "the grass is greener where you water it" meme. How true that saying is. It's all perception. Our grass can be greener if we learn to appreciate what we have instead of envying what other people seem to have. Don't get me wrong, I love to travel to far-off locales but sometimes that's not always feasible. Much fun can be had if not more, exploring what's in your own town. It's a much more economical and less stressful process getting the respite that's needed without all the headaches that come with booking a flight, dealing with the dreadful airport security hassle, accommodations, and getting a hotel, not to mention, jetlag. I couldn't have been more excited when the hubby proposed staycationing at Oheka Castle for our anniversary. Located amidst the most beautiful landscapes, this chateau-style estate is a hidden luxurious retreat that is set high on Long Island's gold coast where the grandeur of years past and majestic scenery happily commingle to produce an unforgettable unique experience that strips away the clutter of daily life, replacing it with the impalpable pleasures of a clear mind.

Jcrew Schoolboy blazer_Lucky Brand Crochet Lace Wedges_Hot Pink Romper_Round Mirrored Sunglasses

Jcrew Schoolboy blazer_Lucky Brand Crochet Lace Wedges_Hot Pink Romper_Round Mirrored Sunglasses

Jcrew Schoolboy blazer_Lucky Brand Crochet Lace Wedges_Hot Pink Romper_Round Mirrored Sunglasses

Romper {similar here and here - I love the style and color of this one} | JCrew Schoolboy Blazer (sold out - similar here and here) Lucky Brand Crochet Lace Wedges | Mirrored Sunglasses {similar here and here} | Cheetah Print Clutch {similar here - I love of this two-tone one}

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Teal Blue Leather Dining Chairs+Slat Wood Walls+Tin Tiles Wall
1. Was left inspired by this visually stimulating 
decor view from our corner spot for lunch.

This weekend marks the end of a long chapter in our life and commences a whole new one starting with an end of summer road trip. I'm so grateful for several things right now, but two in particular: 1) I'm glad we're finally saying adieu to August, so looking forward to fall and 2) I'm most grateful for a new beginning full of positive changes on the horizon. Here's to the future because I'm done with the past.

Feast For The Eyes Museum Exhibition + Quote About The Past
2. Feast For The Eyes exhibition 
was my favorite at the museum + the most 
apropos quote right now.

3. Pretty cool coincidence: nail polish and shoes 
blending with the floor.

4. Timeliest sweet treats brought to our room 
upon our arrival at our hotel.

5. An incredibly simple change, such as applying this lily flower 
to an ordinary sketchbook gives it such a lovely touch.


The Benefits Of Being A Wanderlust

Nassau County Museum of Art - Roslyn, NY

One of the many things the hubby and I have come to appreciate having moved away from Long Island about eleven years ago, is that we now get to play tourist and make time to do all the things that our day-to-day routine of life never really afforded us to fully enjoy when we lived there. Especially, now that we've been living in the city, we find that we enjoy making the drive back to Long Island a lot more exciting. And if you follow me on Instagram, then you must have gotten a peek of our anniversary staycation there. With an upcoming open road trip, we decided to spend our anniversary exploring places that we've always wanted to see but never got around to checking out. Right after breakfast and exchanging gifts, we made the drive to our first destination into Roslyn to visit a museum that is totally under the radar - Nassau County Museum Of Art.

So yes, it's been bittersweet leaving what you know for sure, including a close community of friends that were better than family. However, the benefits of what is experienced by going out of one's comfort zone are so valuable to discovering your own individuality, as opposed to mindlessly following in the footsteps of everyone else around you - simply because it's what's considered "stable". In this unpredictable life, stability is elusive as sooner or later, we all will be confronted with change one way or another. Of course, not all unexpected changes are bad. The reality is, the experiences gained from having spread our wings, venturing to new places, have made us resilient which is one of the most freeing gifts for coming into your own. Some of the advantages of being a wanderlust are, but not limited to things like:

Nassau County Museum of Art - Roslyn, NY

Nassau County Museum of Art - Roslyn, NY_Maxi Dress Crochet Lace Wedges

An expanded mind. When you leave your microcosm that you've known all your life, it helps you develop greater thinking ability, examining things differently than the limited understanding of what you're brought up with. It definitely changes the way you look at the world, because it expands your horizon.

Nassau County Museum of Art - Roslyn, NY_Maxi Dress_Snakeskin foldover bebe bag_Lucky Brand Crochet Lace Wedges

Nassau County Museum of Art - Roslyn, NY_Feast The Eyes Art Exhibition

You learn to adapt. If you would have told me that once we moved from Long Island, we would have been moving many more times thereafter to two different states (by choice), I most likely would have said never! But with each move, we looked at every new obstacle as an opportunity to learn something new that we didn't know about ourselves and grow by setting goals that helped us to look forward.

Nassau County Museum of Art - Roslyn, NY_Feast The Eyes Art Exhibition

Nassau County Museum of Art - Roslyn, NY_Feast The Eyes Art Exhibition

Nassau County Museum of Art - Roslyn, NY_Feast The Eyes Art Food Exhibition

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger and yields better qualities. No doubt, leaving behind what is familiar is a very difficult thing. The disconnection and loneliness that are experienced in the beginning with all new surroundings and without being around close friends will make you wish that you just could hit the rewind button and go right back to the way things were before. That's when you come to grips with the idea that in order to survive, it's best to find positive aspects of the new circumstances that you're in, which makes you discover what you're really made of. Thankfully, those hard times drew us closer to each other as a couple and not farther apart. It was important to remember that at least we have each other to lean on. It's like what Kelly Clarkson's says in one of her songs "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger." And that was true in our case.

Bell Sleeve Maxi Dress_Lucky Brand Crochet Lace Wedges_Bebe Snakeskin Foldover Bag_Vintage Sunglasses

You get to know yourself well. Sure, getting out of your comfort zone will bring its set of difficult situations that you might not have ever confronted before, but they'll require you to rely on yourself (instead of others) to analyze things and find ways to survive on your own. Trialsome circumstances give you the chance to know what your strengths and weaknesses are, and before you know it, little by little, you start realizing what you really like and dislike. That's when you begin listening to your own inner voice and come to accept your own individuality and be okay with who you are.

Nassau County Museum of Art - Roslyn, NY_Feast The Eyes Art Food Exhibition

Nassau County Museum of Art - Roslyn, NY_Feast The Eyes Art Food Exhibition

It teaches you to widen out. Moving away helps you to grow, as it forces you to see the possibilities for new friendships with people from different walks of life that might have gone through the same experience in the past that you're currently going through or are sharing a similar situation as you are now. Making such connections most often have a domino effect on broadening your horizon as such new friends introduce you to new people, places and things that you never have done before or probably never knew existed.

You live like a tourist. Being in a whole new city makes waking up every day a lot more exciting, because you suddenly have so many new things to look forward to, like exploring what's around - finding those hidden gems that normally the locals take for granted or never knew were even there. We've had much fun introducing places to people in their own cities that are normally off the beaten path of locals.

You collect fond memories. Moreover, one of my favorite things about traveling is the unforgettable memorable moments that are created, giving us the vantage point to look back and reflect on the life lessons every situation/location has taught us (albeit good or bad), and how these have shaped our character in the way we now make decisions.

H&M Maxi (really like this one) | Lucky Brand Crochet "Rezdah 2" Lace Wedge sandals (on sale, but would love to get this) | Bebe Snakeskin Foldover Bag (old, I also want this) | Vintage Sunglasses (similar)