Sonoma : we’re here!

We wake up, Katie & Scott land in San Fran, grab a rental car and pick us up.  We’re together! Two couples! Success… so far.  The rest of the morning involves us driving to the house in Glen Ellen for our wine weekend.  A few hours on the road, catching up, Brett & Scott meeting for the first time… we’ve talked about that FOREVER, and it has finally happened!

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En route to the home, we pass rows upon rows of the most beautiful landscape – Sonoma views at their finest.
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Our journey thus far had left us hungry, so we stopped for a bite to eat at Kenwood.
A logical thought had us sipping on a variety of brews, since we knew the entire weekend would be filled with wine-induced joy.
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For the life of me, I cannot remember the type of open-faced sandwich I had.  Some sort of fish, not salmon… maybe salmon? Clearly it wasn’t memorable.  It was hard to keep all the moving pieces in place without toppling over into my lap.  Nevertheless, we laughed and started the weekend off right.
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The calm before the beautiful storm.  There was maybe one more work phone call to take [Scott] – so we insisted on me taking a picture of Katie taking a picture of Brett taking a picture of Scott on the phone, with his work, in the parking lot, in God’s-freaking-country-Sonoma.
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We paid the bill and hightailed it out of there.  Molly & Chris were driving in a rental with Carley & AJ.  We were all within the same zip code and the energy was palpable.
The house we rented, called Oliviera…due to the olive trees growing on the property… was located up a mini-mountain.  The rental (a VW) handled the 45 degree incline nicely.  Sun shining, wind whipping through our car.  We cruised into the gravel parking lot and got out to explore.
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 The home had luxurious bedrooms, multiple bathrooms with tiled showers.  A pool, a hot tub, a fully-equipped kitchen, flat screen… the amenities don’t end.  They have their own shampoo and bars of soap made by a nearby body shop.  Fresh ground coffee is available for us in a welcome kit, made by local coffee shop.
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We can’t think of a detail they have left out.  Dave and David are apparently a doctor (am I making that up?…) and an interior designer/realtor who recognized this property as a prime location.. let me tell you, they were right!
The other four showed up moments after we arrived… and a good five minutes were spent hugging one another in excitement.  Is this what it feels like to grow up? To be adults? Four happy couples meet in Sonoma, rent a multi-million dollar home for a long weekend of wine-tasting, Cards Against Humanity laughter, grill outs on the deck and making memories?  I know all are not as fortune.  We were blessed beyond dreams for this opportunity.
A quiet close to our first day officially in Sonoma… we grilled chicken, drank on the patio and the four of us girls giggled at our fortune.  Well, at least I did.  What a treat to be enjoying a beautiful property, in a gorgeous part of the country, with some of the best people I know.
I love my life.
xo
e
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Sonoma recap : it’s about time

It’s time for a Sonoma recap! I have so many pictures, it’s taken a bit to edit them, filter them, put them away for awhile and then revisit.  Here we go!

A little pre-flight stretching while waiting for our early morning flight in MPLS. It doesn’t really matter where we go and for how long, I love traveling with this man. Nothing but memories and adventure!

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Brett and I arrived in San Francisco on Tuesday & planned to meet up with the rest of the crew Wednesday morning. In cost-effective fashion, we booked the cheapest hotel we could find.  Turns out the cheapest hotel in San Fran at that time was ten minutes from the airport, Hotel Focus. I’m not sure what they were focusing on because this was a less than basic hotel, and by basic I mean, not entirely sanitary.  There were mattresses leaned up against the wall along the hallway.  The “continental” breakfast had about 4 cheese danishes that may or may not have been expired.  I will say this, we knew going in that it was not going to be the average hotel experience.  I think we overestimated it, still.  We both slept with one eye open, wearing flip flops.  Our feet do not touch the ground while we are there.  Necessary precautions were taken.

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We hiked a few miles through an industrial area near our hotel to get to the closest Target.  Which coincidentally was connected to a mall.  We walked around, mostly people watching.  Came across a tiny nail salon and decided if their manicures were less than $25, we would both get one.  Low and behold, they were $20.  We got ‘em. Yes, Brett enjoyed it.  After nail time we had happy hour at an awesome spot whose name escapes me.  For dessert, we hiked across the way and ended up at BJ’s Brewhouse.  It was crazy hoppin’ busy.  We easily decided on the Pizookie (pronounced pa-zoo-kee) Trio (cookies w/ an ice cream scoop) because who passes up the chance for a Pizookie?
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It was darker than dark and we weren’t interested in sprint walking back the way we came, so we cabbed home and called it a night.
xo,
em.j
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decompression mode….

We went to Sonoma.

We saw.  We conquered.  I plan to blog about it in full detail soon… I took entirely way too many pictures (is there such a thing?) and I’m semi-depressed it’s over.

Fear not.

We will return, hopefully sooner rather than later.

What a dream trip!

xo

 

 

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it’s a little damp out there

Is this what it feels like to live in Seattle?  Everyday, it never fails, rain coming down.  Drizzling, dreary, gray.  Cold, windy, blustering.  The only things I want to do are as follows, in no particular order:

-read

-drink hot apple cinnamon tea

-watch movies (specifically Game of Thrones and Dexter

-bake banana bread (been on my list of To-Do’s for 1/2 a year now)

-wear flip flops with every outfit, business, casual or otherwise

-go to the gym and sweat next to all the other fanatics avoiding an outdoor workout

-plan a future trip, any future trip, specially to a location bordering the ocean with plants such as these

-attempt to be productive & become defeated as it turns to nonproductiveness because no one else is

-get ready to go out somewhere just to realize my mane of hair will frizz and my makeup will run

-dream of living somewhere the sun never shines and swiftly slap myself in the face

-encourage my Yorkie to take a bathroom break while getting soaked

-change my pants every time I come inside as the cuffs are wet

-lay on the ground and pretend to meditate

-wake up with high hopes of sunshine

-go back to sleep

-keep sleeping

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Counting down the hours to Tuesday… our next adventure awaits.

Couples trip in Sonoma, CA!

xo,

 

Listening to

Sipping on

 

 

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all my ladies

A syncing of photos from the iPhone to the Air reminded me I had a story I wanted to post.  Over Christmas holiday, I was reunited with my five close girlfriends from high school.  Most of them attend our annual girl’s trip.  We had a 2-hour time span where our schedules would overlap and we could spend some time connecting.  It was decided, a midweek brunch at The Kenwood.  Fresh snow had fallen and we stomped our way into this beautifully-decorated dining spot.

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Plaid wall paper, horse hooks for your coat and mismatched framed art with vintage lamps.

In true Minnesotan form, we wore “your-car-might-get-stuck-in-the-snow-and-you-have-to-walk” boots of all kinds.  A staple in any Midwestern girl’s wardrobe.

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The great part about this group is, we can be literally ANYWHERE and fully appreciate the time we spend together.  We will laugh on the side of the street in Vancouver.  Bundle up in white bathrobes and be morally supportive of the tallest girl singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” to a half-empty room on a cruise ship.  Enjoy a day drinking shopping spree in downtown Chicago.  We can be anywhere, at any time, and enjoy every moment of it.

In true fashion, brunch was spectacular.  We dined on a handful of delicious plates, I had an Omelette Florentine and we all toasted to friendship and forward momentum.

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And what happens after we dine + cheers?  We laugh and pass around Carla’s beautiful wedding ring (does AJ know this is a tradition?) as we talk about the future and everything we are looking forward to.

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These ladies make me whole again.  Cheers to a new year and another year of being blessed with these girlfriends.

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Carla (Florida), Molls (Minn), Meg (Colorado), Rach (Georgia), Kates (Arizona), and me

So incredibly happy,

xo

Listening to.

Sipping on.

Dreaming about.

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first kiss video

Have you seen it yet?  Of course you have.  All over every social media platform is this beautiful piece called, First Kiss.

After watching it three times once I had to do a little more research.  It got millions of views in just a day, right now it sits at 16,207,600 after being posted yesterday afternoon.  It’s a simple piece of strangers gathered together and their only task is to kiss the person in front of them.  Today, clothing line, wren, announced it was their video to showcase their Fall 2014 line.  Wren’s creative director, Melissa Coker is genius!  And the song playing in it?  It’s called “We Might Be Dead By Tomorrow” by Soko – guess how many copies were sold on iTunes today?…. apparently one million.  One million songs sold in one day.  Incredible!

I don’t know why, but I just love this video.

These are strangers, kissing, and it is so real to me.  It’s heart-warming.

xo,

a romantic

Sipping on.

Dreaming about.

Looking forward to.

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this life (and NYC) is incredible

I’m surprised how long I’ve waited to write another post.  Other creative outlets have consumed me and made me whole… alas, here I am, back to blogging and so excited to share updates on my life.  Let’s talk about NYC for a minute.  Holy incredible! What a beautiful place!  We spent a nonstop 72 hours of pure adventure, chasing the subway, laughing until we cried, spending romantic moments under the stars on the streets of Chinatown… I’m so incredibly blessed to be able to take opportunities to travel, and even more blessedly in love with the man I adventure with.  Brett is such a rockstar traveler… he is spot on and undeniably smart – figuring out subway schedules, booking, planning… someday he may even become as good a planner as me…

Here are a few of my favorite images – I’ll describe them in a singular sentence.

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Fresh off a 6am American Airlines flight and feeling like a pair of travel ninjas.  Yes, he shaved his head (yes, it’s growing back quickly!)

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A brief pause at Starbucks.. we felt it was appropriate considering the locals had one gripped in their right hand at all times. #caramelmacchiato

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Walking around at night is a whirlwind, people everywhere & buildings as tall as the stars.

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Enough said.

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95% of the time we walked the streets, everywhere, these boots aren’t half as comfortable as my purple New Balance kicks.

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Eyeing the rest of his Australian Meat Pie - what a foodie paradise at Chelsea Market.

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The entire underground subway system was amazing, efficient, and the only way we’d travel.

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SuperDry is a brand we love – smack dab in the middle of Times Square it sits. #shoppingspree

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Love him.

NYC was our first adventure using airbnb – which absolutely rocks my socks off.  We stayed in a Chelsea highrise apartment and shared the space with a woman from France, a couple from England and a younger gal from Vancouver.  We had our own bedroom, shared everything else – what a perfect central spot to be able to affordably stay while in and out at all hours.  The host is a middle aged man : extremely personable and ended up buying us drinks at a little place he DJ’s… The Crooked Knife.  NYC, we’ll be back, many times!

Next post – I’ve launched a creative business that makes me wish I had written down all the witty remarks I made in college.

Blessed,

xo

High five to Amacci for proving himself worthy with this song. (more about him later)

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comin’ at ya New York!

Surprised him with a trip to NYC for a little SuperDry shopping.  Can’t get enough.  We are insanely excited about running all over that city and making memories.

I love traveling with this man.  I love seeing the world!  We LIVE for adventure. No one’s going to stop us.

Not even a nonthreatening, judgmental occupant.

LOVE,

the goddess

ny

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Blessed by this boy

A lot has happened in the last year.  Emotionally, physically, mentally.  Those of you privy to a certain Facebook rant may question my dating decisions but let me shed light on that with the simple sentence of : perhaps I blew things a tad out of proportion. The way I phrased what took place most likely misconstrued what really took place and that’s all you actually need to know.  More importantly, I’m in a very, very good place.  I’m extremely happy and feeling just about on top of the world that anyone could feel at the age of twenty-six.

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This man here is my boyfriend.  A man I love and feel so incredibly blessed to have in my life.  I’ve never laughed harder, I’ve never dreamed bigger, than I do with him.  Our conversations go to the deepest, most intense level, and then 10 feet deeper.  He has depth, he has soul, and he treats me right.
I highly recommend you be happy I’m on a fabulous roller-coaster adventure flying at a most amazing speed and I only stop for potty breaks (of which there are many).
To all the doubters, remember, I was one myself.  I recommend you don’t doubt, as love and doubt have never been on speaking terms.
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He wraps the tips of my fingers when they’re damaged.
He cooks me eggs to take on the road when I work at god-forsaken early hours.
He knows exactly how I like my Jersey Mike’s (#9, Mike’s Way on Parmesan bread).
He synced the bluetooth in my new car.
He replaced my brakes yesterday.

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He’s insanely smart and questions everything.  He pushes me to do better, to be a better person.  He doesn’t always let me get my way and I appreciate that.  I’m so blessed to have this man in my life.  I’m so blessed to love and be loved.  Life is richer this way.

Go love someone,
xo
You can thank me for showing you this later.
*
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Heading home

Our last morning in Vancouver!  We showered and scrambled to get all of our clothes into our suitcases.  All that Lululemon took up some extra space we weren’t expecting.  Some Sitting on the Lid to Zip took place.  Finally, we were off.  Wheeling our heavy rollers down the streets of Vancouver once more.  It’s nice the train station wasn’t more than a quarter mile from home base.
We boarded and snuggled into our seats.  Part of the trip was giggling, the other part was playing our card game.  It felt like Harry Potter… the train taking us through the green forests of Canada thru the US border.  I hope’d there’d be a candy cart like in the movie series… but no luck.  We found our way to the food car and grabbed breakfast : bagels and coffee
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For whatever reason, I didn’t take a ton of pictures on the train. I did however, capture a First World Problem moment when Carla got a phone call from Bloomingdale’s requesting a payment for her La Mer bill.  (love you!)
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I didn’t take pics when we arrived in Seattle because I was too busy hugging my best girlfriends.  We departed the train and those with flights leaving caught the tram from downtown Seattle to Sea-Tac International Airport.  Kates and I had the latest flights out so we spent the afternoon downtown.
First things first, I must explain that we had quite a bit of booze leftover from the weekend.  In fact, peek at Kate’s bag… a little grab bag of everything… ergo, when in Rome.
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We had sparkling water to mix and decided to make a few roadies.  Don’t mind the fact that I did it behind closed doors.  In the handicapped bathroom stall.  At the train station.  #winning
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Downtown Seattle was bustling with activity.  We had a taste testing (i.e. hydrating) stop at DRY Soda whose headquarters are in Seattle.
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There had been a shooting a couple hours early – in typical Em & Kate fashion, we gawked and tried to get murder-scene photos.  This was about as good as it got – I wonder if Time Magazine would want to purchase it… after all, there is an iconic Starbucks logo in view.
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We found a tiny paper store on a corner called de Medici Ming – french for who knows what.
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We weren’t supposed to take pictures, but of course I took one. A wall of wrapping paper, unique cards… we both got a journal and chatted with the little old lady who hand wrote our receipts.
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We watched some music acts at Pike’s Place and sent a SnapChat to the ladies at the airport.  Filling them in on our adventures thus far.
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We grabbed sandwiches and seaweed wrapped rice rolls from Michou before we headed back in the direction of the tram.

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One more selife to complete the adventure.  The last two standing.  Waiting on the tram platform to take us to SeaTac.

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I’m going to miss Vancouver, Seattle, and all of the adventures we had.  Each girl’s trip weekend brings new conversation, memory making, and new culinary discoveries.  I’ll miss observing the mess that is E Hastings Street from a somewhat-safe distance.  Observing the chaos life brings when you dabble in heavy drug use.  This is as close as I will ever get to a drug overdose or anything even remotely along those lines.

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I’m going to miss getting coffee-to-go and dancing in the streets.  Giggling and taking the sights in.  Dayshopping in Gastown and sampling pastries at Nelson the Seagull.  Dining at The Lamplighter and watching coked-out Canadians holler inappropriate commentary at the top of their lungs only semi-fearing for our lives.

Vancouver, it’s been real.
Seattle, you’re beautiful
Until next girl’s trip, two-thousand and fourteen…
xo
Adding to wish list.
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