Tag Archives: drinking

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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(NYC) is incredible

Other creative outlets have consumed me… but I’m back to blogging.  Let’s talk about NYC for a minute. What a beautiful place!  We made 72 hours an adventure, chasing the subway, laughing, doing it all.

a few of my favorite images.

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Fresh off a 6am American Airlines flight and feeling like a pair of travel ninjas.

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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.

NYC was our first adventure using airbnb – which rocks.  We stayed in a highrise apt 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!

xo

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

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Lululemon is queen

20130811-075931.jpgMirror shot of the whole fam! Our plan of attack was to wake up super early and get to the race expo. Expo includes packet pickup, race chip registration, and the showcase store where exclusive Lululemon clothes only for the Seawheeze are sold.

I knew it was going to be a good day because the first thing Carley told me was that I had Disney Princess hair.

We woke at 5am, throw on some workout clothes (duh!) and head towards the Vancouver Convention Center. A quick coffee stop along the way ensured a clearheaded shopping conscious. Ha! Chai lattes and iced Americans. Cheers to early morning experiences!

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We thought we were being proactive in rising before the sun – everyone else had the same thought process. We arrived at the convention center and joined the end of the line. We people watched, laughed, and drank our coffees. 20130811-080149.jpg

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As rounded the center, there was a giant orca whale statue and some Lululemon marketing telling us to “get our hair did”. I love it. This company and their marketing, their fabulous fabric yoga pants, the bright colors, obsessed.

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Inside the center is a beautiful big circus tent where packet pickup takes place.

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We line up for the expo store area and are in within minutes. The race expo store is filled with the exclusive Seawheeze clothing only found at the race store. It’s a clothing feeding frenzy and there are hangers with $42 tank tops flying left and right. We can’t get our hands on enough stuff… and there’s a 15 item limit per person. At one point, we have to pull up a spot in the corner and play the “do I need this?” Game. Which helps, but we still leave with quite a bit of loot.

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In case you are curious, this right here is what $1,700 will get you at Lululemon.

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When we walk to and from our apartment to the expo, we never trust any splatters, avoiding all liquids and questionable things laying on the sidewalk. E Hastings Street is a circus, filled with characters.

The rest of the expo was filled with getting free hairstyles, henna tattoos, and a local chiropractic clinic gave us all pre-race massages. Divine.

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We got bands with our race number and name on them in lieu of race bibs – so much cooler!!

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We got fresh mango Popsicles and shot a mantra pic they displayed on the wall of runner mantras.

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We signed our names on a large Seawheeze banner to hopefully be hung in the hall of fame somewhere.

Hard cider was calling our name, so we headed back to the apartment and lounged. Carley took it upon herself to slyly rearrange all of the art hung on the walls.

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The master bedroom is huge and the bed holds us all. So we played  Cards Against Humanity.

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Love, lounging and laughing.

For lunch we went to a little spot in Gastown called the Lamplighter Pub.

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All of the food served on wooden cutting boards, cool!

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We spent the rest of the evening drinking hard cider and toasting to our half marathon adventure in the morning.

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Our sunset view looked like this…

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See you bright and early!
xo

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Dublin -> Minnesota

Oh. My. God. My body. It hates me.
I feel like I’ve been smashed in by a pot of gold.
I feel like I’ve been on a month long Jameson binge.
I feel, for lack of a better word, like shit. With a capital ‘s’, Shit.

It’s been ages since I’ve had a hangover and now I remember why I avoid it like the plague – because it is the absolute worst feeling ever. Aside from childbirth I hear, but That Is A Miracle Happening, people! You cannot compare the two. They’re not mutually exclusive. (good phrase, right dad?)

Apparently, I let my tolerance guard down a little. I should have said no when I said yes and I won’t be making that mistake again.

In the wee hours, I even had a mini-pass out session. Mini because I stopped it just before it happened, but felt as if it still occurred. My body passes out on occasion. It’s like a reboot. More often than not it happens around alcohol, but not always. I’ve passed out on a plane, in my bathroom, in other peoples bathrooms, heck, in the bathroom of Ed Debevics in Chicago just two weeks ago…

I ran to the bathroom, stripped, jumped into the tiny 3’x3′ shower and blasted the water freezing cold. Ten minutes like this and I felt the feeling pass. Afterwards I always feel uncharacteristically tired and very weak.

I slept a bit longer and dreaded the alarm clock that woke Chelsea and I at 6:45am. We didn’t start moving until 7:00 and by that time, we were already running behind. They say to get to the airport at least 2 hours early for international flights, right? Our flight leaves at 10am, boarding starts at 9:15.

We pack speedy fast, rouse the sleeping boys, and load into the car. No coffee, tea, breakfast. I couldn’t have handled it anyway.

Ian drives us in his sporty car to the airport. The windows are down (by request) and the cold air is refreshing and energizing (it’s the simple things in life, right mom?). He pops in a Michael Bublé CD and turns it up.

Here we are: four people, packed into a car, weaving thru the streets of Dublin with the windows down and Michael Bublé blasting.

I just wanted to recap for you because, hangover or not, it was the best exit ever.

We arrive at the Dublin Airport and get our boarding passes at the American Airlines counter. The lines are short but take longer than necessary. I waver while I stand and I’m nauseous as all get out.

We get thru the first security checkpoint. I get buzzed when I walk thru the sensor so a nice woman asks if she can “pat me down”. What are my options? Closed room strip search or in-the-open pat down? I’ll take the pat down. Unless the strip search agents are Michael Bublé and David Beckham. In that case, I hope there’s favorable dim lighting… 🙂

I don’t know how I could have caused it to buzz. I’m wearing Lululemon socks, yoga pants, a sports bra and tank top…

We hear the overhead PA say, “Passengers flying on American Airlines flight XX to Chicago, make your way to the lower level U.S. Preclearance“. We walk a bit faster, just to stand in another line. This is US Customs, it is nice to get out of the way now versus once we arrive. The time is 9:05, we board at 9:15. We get thru customs, part of which includes them showing us an aerial photograph zoomed in on our luggage after it was checked at the counter. The customs agent asks, “is this the luggage you checked earlier?” I reply in the affirmative. Holy creepy, big brother! I guess I would rather have more security than less but, yikes.

Next stop is security checkpoint número dos.. It’s 9:15. We get thru relatively quickly and find the nearest restroom (sensing a pattern here, folks? We pee a lot.)

9:20 and the gate is packed. Standing room only. They are seating individual sections and ours has been called. There’s no need to board and sit so we won’t board until the last possible minute. Nearby is a small cafe. We have leftover euros and decide to pick a few things up. A chicken sandwich, a blueberry muffin and a bottle of water. I probably would have paid €40 for that water, my body was crying out for it so terribly bad.

We board the plane and exhale a sigh of relief. We made it. What an adventure!

I love traveling and seeing the world. I love the cultures, the music, the locals, the food, the memories. I enjoy it all and feel blessed for the opportunity.

But there is nothing, absolutely nothing like the feeling of going home.

We toast one last time onboard, with oj and water.

Sláinte,
Xo

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Last full day to be Irish

We wake up to a chilly, rainy morning in Belfast. Surprise surprise! Last night was the worst sleep I’ve had in years. Roommate #4, Mike from Colorado, stumbles into the room at 4am, hammered. He proceeds to play something on his MacBook while simultaneously coughing so hard, I thought his lungs were going to dislodge. After ten ridiculous minutes of this, because really, who would subject 3 strangers to loud, icky bodily noises at 4am?! Finally, he passes out. We think the worst is over, but oh no ladies and gentleman. The fun is just beginning. He snores for the rest of the night/early morning. Not baby snores, full grown grizzly bear man snores. If you don’t believe me, I recorded audio on my iPhone. Come on over and I’ll prove you wrong over a pint.

I want to thank the makers of Apple, the Pandora App, the Netflix App, and all of iTunes for creating such great products. Even though sleep was impossible, it drowned him out impressively well.

We woke up in the morning with a vengeance in our blood. We made as much noise as we could, thrashing around and packing loudly at 8am. We threw open the blinds and let the streaming Belfast sun shine into our attic hostel room skylight. In my head, as it was opening I was thinking, “let there be LIGHT bitcheeeeees!”

Breakfast was quick, as was coffee. We’ve perfected the art of unpacking and packing up again within 48 hours, so that was quick too.

The bus station was a 20-25 minute walk from the hostel. We swiftly checked out, and headed in that direction.

Time went quicker than we planned to the point where we were within 5 minutes of the bus taking off upon arriving. We quickly found a bathroom (per usual) and boarded the bus to Dublin.

About 2.5 hours is the time it took to cruise Belfast -> Dublin. The bus was double-decker, nice seats but crappy air circulation. Our dash to make it in time left me with small beads of sweat. I had half a mind to take off layers. AKA: everything. We took off our shoes, socks, sweatshirts and spread out across four seats. After ten minutes of cool down, the bus ride was relaxing and allowed me to continue reading my book. This trip has been nothing but adventure and close calls! Livin on the edge baby!

In Dublin we were picked up at the bus station by Conor (remember? Friend from work whose playing rugby here now and whom I almost got deported?) and his purebred Irish flatmate Ian. I spent a small amount of time today trying to convince him we should holiday at one of his families two homes in the South of Spain.

We purchased some spirits, walked thru a park filled with swans, Ian took us to a crepe shop with killer branding called lemon, relaxed on the patio of the apartment in the sun, ate free 99s, shopped for a few more souvenirs and watched Bridesmaids. The evening hours brought drinking, Jameson of course, ideal for our last night in Dublin. We also watched a bit of the new iPhone 5 announcement. All four of us are huge Apple lovers and pretty pumped!

At midnight, after I already had my fair share of Jameson, we went out. Chelsea wanted one more Guinness in a pub on our last night, and I couldn’t argue with that logic. It was bitchin cold as we walked many many blocks to Temple Bar. A round of Guinness for all. I drank mine fast and had my heart set on dipping out after one. A few more were had.  Chelsea and I caught a cab back to the flat in record time.

Eat two pieces of toast.
Brush my teeth.
I remember thinking to myself, I haven’t had much for water today.

The thought passes and it’s lights out Dublin.
Xo

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I could get used to castle living…

Like spoiled princesses we slept away our hangovers in the castle.

But wait, before you judge, I can explain.

Last night was straight out of a movie.

As we caught up on our daily social media, we sat where the WiFi was strongest, in the lobby foyer near the giant open fireplace facing the red grand staircase. It was around 9pm and we were tired from the day, thinking we would have a few glasses of wine and watch a flick.

Somewhere between 9 and 10pm we were joined by two Irish couples in the foyer. The ladies drank white wine and the gentleman drank Guinness. Lots of both. We all start to converse. Discussing the haunted spirit in the castle, Johnny Cash, and the beauty of dogs. One couple had a giant 140 lb dog and a 6 lb Pomeranian they left out of their rooms. The castle allows pets, we come to find out. The dogs get belly rubs as we chat about a famous guest that stayed here at Markree Castle – Mr Johnny Cash. We are seated around the red grand staircase where he sang a song many, many years ago. In the guest book is his signature as well as June Carter Cash’s.

One woman happened to be a singer/songwriter and had a guitar in her room. She went up and grabbed it. Before you know it, Johnny Cash songs are being sung loudly in the echoing foyer. The two Irish men behaved like the guys in Boondocks Saints and were absolutely hilarious.

At this point, Chelsea and I decide to forgo our previous plans and see where the night takes us. We are staying in a castle after all, in Ireland, making friends and drinking with a bunch of Irish who have excellent singing voices.

Someone complains about our loud noise so we move the gathering into the bar area a bit further from where the guest rooms were located. We joined up with two other couples already seated in the dimly-lit bar. All 10 of our chairs in a circle. The music continued, as did the drinking and laughter. We were discussing everything from Irish politics to prime ministers to Lady Gaga to Canada to surnames to U2… we were absolutely all over the map.

2:50am rolls around, people are starting to waver when they stand.. Chelsea and I bid our farewells. Not before Johnny from Dublin grasps both of our hands and tells us, we are the future. We are going to do great things and to not be afraid of whatever comes our way. Johnny was about 11 Guinness pints in, but he meant well and we will remember his fond appreciation for U2, the Wanted and behaving half his age.

Fast forward to today. We wake up and shower: 1:30 pm. Chelsea calls the Markree Riding Stables to inquire about a ride. They’re ready for us at 2pm. We throw on tops, jeans and our tennis shoes and head out. The stable is a 10 minute walk from the castle (past the mama and baby foal).

We arrive, our lead is a super cute young gal named Niamh (pronounced Neeve… crazy, I know). She is 100% Irish and was recently voted the #1 Justin Bieber fan in Ireland.

We changed into some boots and got on our horses. Mine was a beautiful fast girl named Cheyenne and Chelsea rode a more low-key one named Major. It was just the three of us on this ride, so we took off on the trail. It was an hour long and we chatted the heck out of Niamh. We rode English and it was such a déjà vu time for me. I’ve decided I’m going to start riding again. Maybe i wont jump like I used to, but at least ride. It’s been a few years, but I love it!

This was absolutely one of the highlights. We rode horses around a castle estate, in Ireland.

We discussed the idea of taking Niamh home to America with us. She is all for it. I told her we can find a nice stable for her to work at, she can stay at my place and we’ll all ride horses and drink afternoon tea together.

This is the second product of Ireland that I want to smuggle home with me (baby foal is #1).

The rest of the day was spent packing and prepping for tomorrows travel. We walked into town and bought groceries to make a homemade meal (sandwiches & Guinness) in the room while we finally watched Gladiator.

Life is so sweet.
Xo

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