Tag Archives: beer

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 has 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 be grown 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 memory making?  I know all are not as fortune.  We are blessed beyond dreams for this opportunity.
A quiet close to our first official day 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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Good Morning Sunday!

We slept like queens.  A deep restless sleep that only broke when the sun started to shine through the curtains.  We didn’t have much of a plan for Sunday besides enjoying our last full day in Vancouver.  A massage, food, and laughing.  That’s about as far as we got with our planning our day, typical girl’s trip.

A little research showed that a mile or so away was a great coffee shop, so we headed in that direction.  Wanting to stretch out our legs a little and get some fresh air, we decided to walk.  It was a bit brisk and somewhat overcast.

IMG_7307The cute coffee shop we headed to is called 49th Parallel

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They share space with Lucky’s Doughnuts – and why wouldn’t that be the case?  Good coffee and good doughnuts belong within whispering distance of one another.

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The branding catches my eye within seconds and we don’t leave the shop without a few tshirts, mugs and other 49th Parallel swag.

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We picked a few doughnuts to share- it was hard to choose – I wanted one of everything!  We found a circle booth and spent the morning laughing, gossiping, and reliving past memories.  Sipping on our iced lattes, hot coffee, and chai teas.

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What a nice morning.

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After a few hours at the 49th Parallel, we leave, walking on the overcast Vancouver streets towards a spot for brunch.  We had spent a few hours at the coffee shop.  We walked to our apartment, changed clothes, and headed in the direction of a spot we wanted to explore for brunch.  When Miss Molly’s in the group, we WILL be finding a brunch spot on Sunday.  She’s a brunch-hunting queen!

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This took place at a small, but incredibly busy restaurant called Fable.  This is one of your traditional fable to table hot spots (which I LOVE!) – whose marketing and design is also one for the record books.

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Talk about not judging a book by it’s cover.  That seems to be all I do.  A menu, a price sheet, art on the wall… it gets me every time!

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Inside Fable it was packed to the brim with patrons.  An entire wall was a chalkboard filled with doodles and designs.  There were backlit images of farm life.

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The light overhead was designed with pitchforks (hello, farm life!)

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And you know what we did at Fable?  While we sipped on our brunch beverages (mimosas and caesar’s [i.e. bloody mary])?  While we enjoyed a Sunday morning with wholesome individuals eating farm-fresh food.

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My favorite combination of the afternoon?  This one right here:

 

I ordered the Farmer’s Muffin [salad, rosti, sausage, scrambled eggs, cheddar and tomato jam].  Divine and delicious.

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After Fable we started our trek towards the direction of a beach.  We didn’t have a lot planned, but knew we wanted to see some water, some mountains, lay in the sun, and get massages at some point.  The sun was shining and we were toasty warm.  Towards the beach we headed, and found our own little spot in the sand to curl up and sun-worship for a few moments.

 

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Halfway through our lounging.  We had to split up – half had massages at one time, the other half later on.  Meg & Moll took the first appointments.  Carla, Kates and I giggled on the beach for another half hour.

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We weren’t sure how long it would take to get to the spa we booked appointments at – so we gathered our tennis shoes and walked back to the main road to hail a taxi.  It drove the three of us to a little downtown shopping spot where Pink Lime Salon & Spa was located.

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It didn’t take as long as we thought, we had time to kill before our massages.  We meandered down the strip of restaurants and bars, searching for a little watering hole to grab a drink at.  The Distillery looked inviting, and we sidled up to the bar for a quick one.

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Our bartender was dressed from the prohibition error and held a conversation well while we picked his brains about life, love and the pursuit of happiness.  As you can see, we had the place to our selves and as always, enjoyed our time there.

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Our time was up and we headed to Pink Lime. We had three massage appointments and two masseuses available.  Unless Vancouver-masseuses had some magical technique where they could massage two people at once, it just didn’t add up.  Carla decided to sit this one out and headed to explore the other shops with Meg and Molls while Kates and I got some knots loosened.

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As you can see, the plush robes were nice.  I enjoyed them.  Kates and I hung out in the waiting lounge until the rooms were ready.  Our masseuses walked up and introduced themselves and led us both into the same room.  There were two tables there and candles lit.  Cue the romantic spa music.  When the masseuses instructed us to unrobe before they left the room to let us do so… we lost it. Apparently we’re getting a couple’s massage.  We shrugged and said, “whatever!” as we threw off our robes and hung them up behind the door.

Sixty minutes later, we gathered our clothes and settled our bill at the front desk.  The other girls were found noshing at a restaurant down the way.  They settled their tab and left.  We jumped on the underground subway in hopes we were heading in the direction of our apartment.  Only slightly turned around, we ended up walking quite aways.  Now the time is about 7:00pm and we are, surprise surprise, hungry.

That little spot located near our home base, Tap & Barrel, seemed as good a place as any to grab one last little dining experience.

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The sun was setting, the mood was positive.  We played another round of CAH while we sat on the rooftop and the day slowly turned to night.

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Our walk home  along the boardwalk of Olympic Village was gorgeous.  And humbling. We’ll miss this spot and all of our memories of Vancouver.
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Ciao,

xo

 

Listening to.

Dreaming of.

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good morning Dublin!

Good morning Dublin!

Today we woke refreshed and sprinted downstairs for a last minute free hostel breakfast. We figured instant coffee wouldn’t be sufficient and splurged for macchiatos at The Bald Barista. We are happy to find the peanut butter here is excellent – peanuts, peanut oil, cane sugar, vegetable oil, and sea salt. How come in America there are so many ingredients?!

Off we hiked to the Guinness Storehouse for a tour (€13). This is the thickest, darkest beer I’ll drink. And only slowly. We toured the premises and learned how to pour our own pint. We’re pretty much rockstars. The 6th level is a beautiful glass wall overlook at the surrounding area – absolutely stunning!

Conor met us at the Guinness exit for our next stop : Jameson Distillery! I’m more into Jameson than Guinness, thus super stoked for this tour (€10.60).

On our way we grabbed a small snack…a roasted tomato and spinach wrap at The Food Gallery.

The Jameson Tour was narrated, very informative and ended with a glass of Jameson. Which we downed immediately. This is the best whiskey in the world. Period. Delicious.

We hopped on the light rail and visited a free local art museum, Hugh Lane Gallery. There were a few works displayed by Claude Monet there.

(check out Battleship Potemkin and Massacre of the Innocents at Chantilly)

A wee bit later we found ourselves at Cassidy.. a local pub… drinking beer, eating some killer pizza… and playing chutes & ladders. Throw back!!

4 some hours later we headed back to Conor’s apartment and spent the evening speaking Irish with his adorable flatmate, Ian.

At night it gets down in the 50s, and that’s quite alright with me.

Cheers!
Xo

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My favorite picture so far this trip took place in the seedy dark basement of Cassidy’s where there was a toilet tank suspended above the toilet with an arrow pointing down and the words “Ministry of Magic”… because here in Dublin is the closest I’ve ever felt to being in a Harry Potter movie. Wicked!!

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Sleepless in Dublin

Our arrival in Dublin is exciting! After 7.5 hours on a plane, any sort of arrival would be! We stand in a customs line for 45 minutes. I’m okay with this because I love collecting stamps in my passport from other countries. It’s almost like a scrapbook-thing. I was bummed in Vancover when we got thru customs with no stamp given. I have half a mind to buy a stamp from Archivers just so I have record in my passport that I went.

In Dublin, I get the customs agent on a power trip- questioning me about who I’m visiting, if he has a work Visa… all this crap that shouldn’t matter as I have a valid passport and all he needs to do is stamp it and move along to the next tourist, right eśe?! Talk about feeling like a convicted felon without doing anything wrong.

I just about get my friend deported. In the end I wanted to say…. Who are you to question me who I’m visiting and then deny me?! I’m here on vacation, for pleasure, for 10 days, stamp my passport, adios.

We make it to our first hostel after a search and find for the correct bus (16A, if you’re curious). Nothing like navigating public transportation in a foreign country. Adventure!!

The hostel is connected to a great little coffee shop called The Bald Barista. After we drop our bags at the room, take a quick power nap, we proceeded to fuel with some java. A Flat White. Which is a “less foamy latte”.

Twenty minutes later Conor arrives to meet us and the adventure really begins. He shows us around downtown Dublin, his favorite watering holes, a shopping area. We walk thru the most beautiful park with swans and ducks everywhere!

He is here playing on a rugby team- so we watch a bit of their practice at the Trinity University field. Lots of buff dudes wearing short shorts wrestling one another and making grunting noises.

Chelsea and I found a place to drink on campus within walking distance and sat down to enjoy our first pint of the trip. Bulmers Original. We cheers to “adventure, Dublin, and asshole customs agents”.

After practice- Conor and his teammate/flatmate Ian took us to their new apartment overlooking the Liffey River. Ian offered us tea “with milk if you’d like”. Adorable! I’ve never been offered tea by an Irishman before. I died.

We made a family dinner and enjoyed catching up on our lives.

Midnight rolled around and I’m shocked we aren’t more tired than we are. As I recall a family backpack tour to Europe (circa 1999) … the entire first two days were spent in a hazy fog.

Sleepless in Dublin,
Xo

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