Wow.

THAT was a vacation.

Hands down the best, most memorable vacation of my life. Better than my honeymoon (and no, I don’t even say that with a bias or sarcastically. I had a wonderful honeymoon and as I’ve said before, I am glad I shared that experience with Pete, even though we are no longer married). Better than last year’s wine country experience (which I thought would be hard to do!).

I wouldn’t even know where to start with recapping the last ten days but to share a few snippets of some of my favorite moments, some stats, and some pictures. Here goes, friends:

  • I visited 27 winieries (including one I went to twice – our favorite vineyard from last year, that we are wine club members from – Field Stone Winery.) in total. 27!! My friend Jess and I got a head start on some of the others as we arrived at the ridiculously gorgeous house Saturday afternoon, while the rest trickled in Sunday (my sister and brother in law), Monday (my friend Meg) and Tuesday night (friends Jeannine and Shane).
  • A few of my favorites (if you ever get the chance to go – GO!!) – Field Stone (duh), J Winery (also a fave from last year, great brut rose champagne!), Windsor Oaks, Edmeades, Hawley, Glen Lyon and Williamson (though they were all great finds!!).
  • A hot air balloon ride over Napa Valley at sunrise on my 31st birthday. Wow. Just wow. If you ever have the chance – do it – don’t be afraid, it’s peaceful, serene, and a memory you’ll never forget.
  • About a bazillion glasses of wine – like whoa. We polished off 15 bottles of wine at night – not to mention the pour after pour after pour at the vineyards (averaging 4-5 tastings per day, anywhere from 4-8 pours!).
  • Learning to let go of routine – ack – this was difficult. And when I mean routine, I mean working out. I only worked out twice last week! It was hard to let go, way harder than I thought, but I think my body needed it after all of the half marathon training. (but needless to say, I’m back on the straight and narrow this week and no wine till Friday – THAT will be hard!).
  • Joining one wine club (Glen Lyon), bringing home one case of wine, and splitting two other cases of wine. Like whoa!

Many, many, many more memories from the last ten days and some pictures here should help as well. Thank you friends (and sister and bro in law) for a fantastic time, I’d do it all over again and again and again with you! (TWSS!)

 

Jess and I did a two day San Fran trip beforehand - Golden Date was awesome!

 

 

 

Grape-love at M. Schlumberger!

 

 

Sister shot with the grapes!

 

 

Glen Lyon had a gorgeous estate!

 

 

fake wine snobs πŸ˜‰ "nice nose on that wine!" - good impression, right?!

 

 

whee hot air balloon!! Goofy grin firmly plastered on my face!

 

 

sunrise over Napa...from the hot air balloon.

 

Advertisements

If you’re looking for me…

...I might be here...

...or here.

or here πŸ™‚

I plan to post periodically, but it will be sporadic, likely at best. I hope to come back refreshed, rejuvinated, with lots of pictures, and a bright and chipper 31 year old ;-P

~~

On a side note – I saw Jen and the baby today and while Jen has a lengthy recovery ahead, I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to see her, hug and kiss her and hold her hand. And equally – if not more – perfect to hold Isabel for two hours as she slept and cooed and looked around. I love her so very much, and Jen as well, of course. It gave me a sense of peace that I can go on this trip knowing she is on the initial road to recovery. Continued prayers and thoughts much appreciated!!

Bliss

Wow, what an amazing finish to a fantastic week off! Literally the last three days have been filled with nothing but the beach, good friends, and relaxation. Some of the moments from this weekend are by far, in my top 10 of the summer.

A couple of moments I want to capture:

…heading to my friend Steph’s private beach on Friday for a couple of hours with our other Kick friend Jacqui. Crystal clear water, not a soul around except for us, and a glass of prosseco.

…girls night at my place on Friday, with a few of my friends, capped off with a drink at one of my fave summer bars.

…one of my best runs to date on Saturday morning, again with Steph and Jess and Scott. It was only 60 degrees at 7 am, the air was crisp, the sun was shining and my shins didn’t cramp once. Made it 10 miles in 1:52…slow to most, but my fastest as well! *pats self on back*

…Beach day #2 again at Steph’s beach, with Jess and Scott as well. Another perfect day of weather, more prosseco, capped off with an awesome cookout at their place, with a few other friends (and Steph’s cute brother Josh…hehe), a bonfire, and tiki torches. And wine. πŸ˜‰

…sleeping in a bit, eating breakfast on the patio this morning, complete silence. Much needed and enjoyed.

…beach day #3 with my friend Jess. Took awhile to find a beach with parking that hadn’t filled and damn, was it a scorcher (in the 90s today), so we only lasted a couple hours, however, it ended with a yummy ice cream twist down the street from her house. Yum, like whoa.

I couldn’t have asked for a better vacation to (somewhat) end the summer. It’s been an amazing summer and I’m totally planning my top 10 summer memories post for this week or next. And my “dad” series as well. Happy Sunday funday! πŸ™‚

Jess, Steph and me

Hi friends! I’m back from a week upta camp, where I set out to see my surroundings with fresh eyes, and while I can’t say that I fully succeeded at that, I can say there is a sense of contentment in *not* knowing what my future holds, and being more okay with that now, than I have in the past.

I’ll post more on that in coming posts (and did write my ‘dad’ blog series, and will begin posting that soon too. Not gonna lie, a tough series to put pen to paper on, but it resulted in some interesting conclusions for me that I didn’t realize when I first started writing), but for now, a fun recap of my last ‘official’ vacation to Maine (some one-nighters planned here and there, including next weekend, at least!).

As I mentioned, a couple of friends came up for the weekend (with my sister and brother in law) and wow, we had a BLAST and a half. They came up on Saturday morning, with their boat in tow, and their dog, and we spent the day boating, tubing (okay, I just watched from the boat and took pics. Blame it on a headache), and oh, drinking 2 gallons of sangria throughout the evening (and surprisingly, no hangover in the morning that some pancakes couldn’t fix!).

“J” is one of those friends that we can just sit and read and not say too much, and that’s okay. Ya know how you have some friends like that? They are few and far in between but she’s certainly one of them, and we had fun alternating between reading on the dock in the sun, to chatting about everything from life, to what we want to do in wine country (they’re coming with us, yay!), to potentially going to Ireland between Christmas and New Year’s (how fun would that be? I am totally considering if it I can somehow find the fundage. “S” is from Ireland and he’d be a phenomenal tour guide, and I know we’d all have a blast). We capped the evening with a bonfire by the lake, which was truly amazing. The first time we’ve ever been able to do that because the water is usually too high, but it was really low, and there was sand where we could build it (oh and did I forget some potentially un-puppies and rainbows night swimming J, my sis and I partook in?! Blame the sangria…).

Fast forward the next few days.

Okay, maybe not, but the next several days, it rained. And rained. And rained some more. The most amount of rain we’ve had all summer…on our vacation. Go figure, right?

Well, to be honest, it was *almost* as fun as the weekend, as it was the excuse I needed to just sit, read, blog, and read some more. And do a lot of thinking. It was very therapeutic, and centering, and just what I needed.

Today was phenomenal. The weather was perfect, completely polar-opposite to the last four days, and we spent the day lakeside, with my Gram, and my Gramp as well. Couldn’t have asked for a better end to the week, especially spending some quality time with my grandparents and hearing stories we haven’t heard before, as we sat and watched the rain. Another one of those moments I won’t easily forget.

And now for some pictures…enjoy – and more tomorrow on my ruminations etc…XO!

Jess and Scott tubing!

Jess and me during sangria-fest!

Nala hunting down Bailey - how freakin cute is that?!

me, J, and Jess - sangria-fest!

us ladies on the jetski - so fun!

As I prepare to head off into my last official vacation to Maine this summer (though likely some shorter ones into September, never fear!), I want to capture every moment, and sear them into memory because Maine has been my savior this summer, that one place where I’ve let go completely and just let myself be. It’s been a mental, emotional and physical boost and given me a layer of serenity I’ve needed for some trying times this summer. And let’s face it, Maine has been ridiculously amazing, and I couldn’t feel more blessed.

So, today’s quote Friday quote:

β€Ž”See your surroundings with fresh eyes…the best way to find yourself is to discover where you are.”

I plan to do just that (and this)- plant myself firmly and really, really, really discover where I am and what I want to do with my life. I firmly feel as though I am at the cusp of something wonderful and I want to capture that and take control of where life’s leading me. I need this vacation for that, almost more than anything.

And as Erika aptly pointed out, sometimes life just ‘gets in the way’ of seeing things and enjoying them on a daily basis, and it’s hard to break out of that with all of the daily “clutter” there is. I couldn’t agree more. Vacations are meant for recharging, seeing your life with fresh eyes and soaking it all in.

And hell, while I’m at it, I’m going to nap, read, eat, drink wine and bask in the sun lakeside (with my sister and brother in law, and also so excited to have one of my favorite couples coming up this weekend – it’s going to be epic!!). But you knew that already πŸ˜‰

Have a wonderful weekend/week everyone! I’ll have a couple of posts (and guest posts) coming, and promise to be drafting my blog series on my father as well. Stay tuned…

Okay, maybe I’d just *date* you…don’t want to jump in *too* fast now, do we? πŸ˜‰

Wow, what can I say? Maine was again, amazing, and exactly what I needed. From Friday afternoon until last night, I was in an utter state of happiness, relaxation and appreciation. Growing up, I think I took for granted the little piece of heaven that is Maine, and the fact that it’s a wonderful way to spend some quality time with my grandparents, too. Every day, I realize how lucky I am to have them both in such good health, and to have a close relationship with them.

For example…

Gram joked with me that “we” need to find me a man (and then proceeded to tell me about the cute man at her church…who’s actually twice divorced. Um, that’s a wee bit more baggage than I’m looking for, but it was cute and funny and I loved it).

We played a mean game of dominoes complete with de-lish blueberry cake that Gram made from the fresh blueberries we picked the day prior (pics below, take a gander!).

Gram and Gramp shaking their heads in half-teasing, half-‘shame’ at our forgetting to take our floaties in before a big thunderstorm and away they flew (but, Jess and Scott managed a successful search and rescue mission on the jetski and found two of them, so all was not lost).

Gram sharing a story with me from childhood, a story I had never heard before, and I’ll never forget it, the perspective, the hindsight, too, and well, the real-ness of the conversation.

Gram and Jess and me taking an impromptu mini-hike up the street and into the woods on the hunt for blackberries (which weren’t ripe, sadly, but I thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle that was Jess as she ran and screeched away from a bunch of horse flies that seemed to love hovering over her head. I did, however, manage to thwack a few of them right on her head, killing them!).

…those moments were moments I loved and appreciated and capture here, and in my memory.

A few others?

Spending a wonderful, fun, reminiscing, wine-filled long weekend with Amy and Eric. We had a blast. We played Balderdash (which was hysterical. if you have never played it, definitely do!). We played Trivial Pursuit (boys vs. girls, and um, for the record, it’s not our fault we kept getting questions with multiple choice answers!). We just enjoyed the time together. If they lived here, we’d be together all the time. I’m convinced. They rock.

Reading “The Lovely Bones” from cover to cover in two days. Amazing book. Loved it.

Taking an impromptu nap on the dock on the one cloudy afternoon we had. Hearing the waves lapping the shore, boats chugging by, and the birds chirping was the perfect recipe for a nap.

Enjoying many an afternoon glass of wine or frosty cocktail, because, why not, right?

Running to the foot of the lake and back a few times, trying to channel my inner runner, focus on nature and not on my screaming lungs (half-successfully!).

Blueberry picking with Ames, Eric and Jess (and again, Jess gets bombarded with horse flies – wtf perfume were you wearing sis?! ;-))

Doing a bootcamp-type workout on the dock with Jess on Tuesday morning. So awesome to do, as the lake with our backdrop, smooth as glass.

I could go on and on, but I’ll leave you with a few more pictures of the vacation I’m sure I’d marry if it were a man πŸ˜‰

Blueberry picking!

Blueberry picking!

see that vat? we got three of those bad boys - yum!

see that vat? we got three of those bad boys - yum!

Jess posing with the berries ;)

Jess posing with the berries πŸ˜‰

stuffed burgers anyone?

stuffed burgers anyone?

Kayla gazing out the window post t-storm

Kayla gazing out the window post t-storm

Nala cuddling with her mom - I love this pic.

Nala cuddling with her mom - I love this pic.

As I am just a few hours away from heading back up to my serenity – Maine – with my sister Jess, and my brother-in-law Scott, and one of my bestest, Amy, and Eric (woohoo!), I’m feeling pretty damn good, so I thought today’s quote Friday perfectly states it:

“Kick off your shoes, spread your toes, and ground yourself in the present.”

I plan to do nothing but that over the next 6 days and breathe it all in. I leave you with this pic – on the dawn of the last morning from my Fourth of July trip – it’s breathtaking, isn’t it? Serenity…is almost mine.

PS – this is my 500th post! Amazing. Go blog, go!