Tag Archives: expensive

Right out of a movie

I’m going to give all credit to Carley on this one. She researched and booked the world’s most incredible brunch at Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley.

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Let’s just say, this isn’t your standard 3-Michelin star restaurant. This place is, quite honestly, a friggin’ Swiss Family Robinson-style experience, complete with servers that have timed deliveries and round-table speeches to introduce each individual plate.

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Our brunch took place outdoors on the wraparound deck overlooking California’s Napa Valley. I was half expecting to have chimpanzees swing onto our shoulders during the dessert course.

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This is one of those, when in Rome, experiences – we all ordered a cocktail and cheers’ed to ending this first couple’s trip with a bang.

Bloody mary’s and mimosas all around! Of course, they were ordered using the table iPad in front of us.

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The brunch menu looked a little like this.  You choose a drink, a beginning, a sustenance, and a dessert.

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By memory, Brett and I shared the half dozen oysters, the cow’s milk burrata with grilled radicchio, a Maine lobster omelet, a Kurobuto pork chop, and two fantastic desserts from this menu.

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I know for sure we choose the Chocolate Peanut Butter one, and I couldn’t guess what the second one was. Let’s just say they both rocked our socks off. Finish up with a little cappuccino and we are ready to see that bill, server!

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Somewhere along the lines of $700 and vacation, we didn’t care what this meal cost. Once in a lifetime, eating on a beautifully exotic deck overlooking Napa, with some of the best friends life could give us.

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We took one more pano picture and all piled into the cars. Windows down, wind whipping our hair all over the place. We took the scenic route home. Along the rolling vineyards of Napa, promising ourselves we’ll be back some day.

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We stopped at the nearby grocery store on the way to Oliviera, to pick up dinner supplies (I know, we just had brunch… but we didn’t want to have to drive again once we got home.) We taste-tested some frosting, picked up some grilling materials and a quinoa salad or two – then we headed back.

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The rest of our last full day in paradise was spent laughing, listening to music, jumping in the hot tub, grilling and playing Cards Against Humanity.

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Without going into the details of our sad goodbyes the next morning, let’s just say this trip was a terrific first couple’s trip – one we won’t soon forget.

Where will the next one take us? Locations we have thrown around : Hawaii, Colorado Backcountry, to the coast of North Carolina…

The world really is our oyster. And traveling in groups allows for a more exotic lodging experience since we’re splitting it 8+ ways…

Thank you for a truly memorable trip : Carley & AJ, Katie & Scott, Molly & Chris, and the best traveler I know and love, Brett

Until next time,
e

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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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Meet my guru, Suja

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I cannot believe it has taken me this long to get back on track… actually, I recant that statement – I absolutely can believe that.  I’ve had a hell of a month, about 90% of February was FUBAR. But, you know what? Can’t keep me down. I’m back… and better than ever.

A week ago I decided to embark on a cleanse. I’ve heard a lot about this new brand called Suja. Dr. Oz swears by it. So, I wanted to give it a whirl.  I didn’t chose to do this as a weight-loss trick, instead it was more of a cleansing of the system. Mind, body, soul. Getting back to a good, solid foundation both inside and out.

I chose the 5-day cleanse which consists of 6 different cold-pressed juices a day. You can purchase them on their website or Whole Foods carries them (then you avoid $105 in shipping charges AND can take advantage of a Whole Foods case discount for buying more than 12 bottles… you’ll need to snag 30 of them). I custom ordered them so I wouldn’t make a trip and risk them being out of a flavor. Ordering off the website would have cost $375, my total at Whole Foods was $242.73. A handful of you have asked, why don’t I juice my own fruits and vegetables? Because the amount of money I would spend on the ingredients, and the time it would take to juice and clean up my mess 6x a day would just about equal how much I spent on the cleanse. And Suja juice is the highest quality premium organic cold-pressed raw juice you can find. I don’t even know how to cold-press something, much less have the time to do it. So I splurged.

On the morning of the cleanse I was hesitant, a tad nervous, and secretly praying the juice tasted better than I imagined it would. The first drink is GLOW. It is considered “breakfast”, made up of green apple, cucumber, celery, collard greens, spinach, kale, and a pinch of spearmint. It wasn’t half bad! Not something I would drink everyday by choice… but I had high hopes for the rest of the flavors. The directions were to drink the bottles as you got hungry throughout the day. I didn’t find myself hungry until around 1pm on day 1. On days 2-5 I was hungry within 2 hours of drinking the first bottle. Bottle #2 is FUEL, considered the “mid-morning” drink, made up of carrot, apple, pineapple, orange, lemon and turmeric. This tasted exactly like the juice we make in the summer, very carroty and filling. The lunch bottle is called PURIFY and was my least favorite, it is made up of carrot, apple, celery, cucumber, lemon and beet. With all those ingredients, I feel it tastes like a sour beet drink… the hardest to get down! Bottle #4 is called FIJI; made with apple, celery, cucumber, spinach, kale, collard greens, lemon and ginger. This one tastes the most like a salad. Almost like someone created a bed of greens with some raw veggie toppings, threw it all in a blender and drank it. Not my favorite, this was the “mid-afternoon” bottle, and one that I was rarely hungry for. Next we have dinner with bottle #5. The GREEN SUPREME was a huge surprise on day #1. I was expecting something hearty and truly dinner-like… I don’t know why I was thinking it would be potato and green bean flavored? I was so happy when I read the ingredients and tasted this bottle for the first time. It is made of kale, green apple and lemon – it tastes like a tart apple cider… delicious! The final bottle of the day is VANILLA CLOUD. I was not expecting a cleanse to have something set aside to stand for dessert, but this was the perfect end to each of the five days of cleansing. This bottle is made with almond milk, coconut milk, vanilla bean, honey and filtered water. It tasted like a thick chai tea.

On some days, I was not hungry for many hours after drinking a bottle and felt somewhat off track. I would start drinking the lunch bottle a little before dinner-time… But day four and five I had it down like a science and my body was looking forward to each bottle.  On day three, in my head I started planning a rendezvous with an avocado and some cherry tomatoes to take place around 2pm… I told myself I could eat it around 5. I made it to 4 and downed those raw veggies like it was my job. They’ve never tasted so good!

When I would leave the house in the morning, I carefully calculated how many hours I would be gone so as to bring enough juice to last me.  When I get hungry, I need fuel, pronto.  I guarded those bottles like it was my life.  When I dropped one in the back hallway at work and half spilled out, I just about lost my shit.  Because not only was that $4.50 wasted, but I was thisclose to eating my coworker due to hunger.

Some people said, “just have a bite- try this tasty cookie bar I made, one bite doesn’t really matter.” But, it does matter. It matters to me that I finish strong with something I started, and something I’m so passionate about. I spent a small fortune on this cleanse and wanted to do it right. Raw veggies were encouraged, but I limited them to truly take advantage of the cleansing process. So, I never had a bite, or a cookie bar.

The cleanse comes in 1, 3 or 5-day options, and I look forward to doing it again soon. I woke up each morning with a clearer perspective on everything.  Life had meaning and felt so much more enhanced. I typically have a cup of coffee each morning but this cleanse omits any caffeine – so days one and two were greeted with a striking caffeine headache that lasted into the early afternoon. After those mornings, it was smooth sailing, and I’ve decided to not drink coffee each morning.  Only on special occasion. I don’t want to be dependent on it… or risk getting a headache if I don’t drink any.

Some have asked, how much weight did I lose? I lost about 7.2 pounds. For the first time in awhile the first two letters on the scale started with 12_. If I were a celebrity and needed to fit into a $53,584 Gucci dress for an award show in 5 days – I would do a Suja Cleanse. You’re in tip-top shape in no time – and you have the Benjamins to pay for it.

Don’t get me wrong, I did have cravings, oh Lord, did I have cravings… the biggest food I looked forward to was a toasted English muffin with peanut butter and honey drizzled on top. Introducing real food into my diet on day 6 was like experiencing the true power of tastebuds all over again… I was impressed with the flavor of raw fruits and vegetables… so everything beyond that was 10x more flavorful and powerful in my exploration.

To conclude, I highly recommend Suja, not just for a weight-loss start but to cleanse your system and get back to the basics of true nutrition and detoxifying your system completely! Who wants to do it with me next time?

High five for health!
xo

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