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Round two!

We wake up with barely a hangover. Win! Refuel with a little morning java and enjoy our patio before getting ready for the day and more importantly, before our limo arrives.

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Since we already had a mug of coffee down the hatch. We figured it’s time to get the party started.… poppin’ bottles.  Before you get worried about our alcohol intake, please remember, the whole point of renting a limo for this trip was the sole fact that we planned to be inebriated.  As classy and sophisticated as we could… but definitely not sober.
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Our first stop is one that we highly recommend for those visiting the Sonoma area.
St. Francis Winery & Vineyard. We scheduled their Food & Wine Pairing experience for 11am on a Friday afternoon filled with sunshine and cool breezes.  This vineyard is built on some beautiful landscape (aren’t they all?) A very popular place for people to get married.  Gorgeous mountains in the background.
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The pairing took place inside a lovely structure, the doors open to the fresh air outside.  There were two tables positioned half-circle style with the seating on the outside of the curves.  The wine experts walked through and around as they introduced each pairing.
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Each place setting had a leather-bound portfolio with the menu details & a notepad to write tasting notes in.  I vaguely remember doodling hilarious stick figure pictures and Bob Marley quotes on mine… at one point during the experience, Brett looks over and exclaims, “My feet feel like cotton!”  He is entirely enjoying himself, on top of the dosage of DayQuil (for his head cold) taken 30 minutes prior.  It’s amazing what a little vino and a little acetaminophen will do to ignite the senses!
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To be honest, I don’t even remember what all we had {so zoom in on this picture & read it!}  Nevertheless,  it’s true when they say pairing wine with a specific food enhances the flavors, it really works!  The whole experience was a delight. Something we would do again in a heart beat.
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Back in the limo we go.  The next stop, Ledson Winery and Vineyards. Originally, it was being built as a home, with 17 acres of Merlot planted on the grounds.  But as the structure was built, and the public became more interested, they ended up turning it into a vineyard and tasting room.  (well played Ledson clan!)  The structure is built with a French Normady-esque style, 16,000 square feet of woodwork and marble staircases.  Never missing the opportunity for a photo op, we enjoyed the front garden area with beautiful white roses and fountains.
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Their tasting room had wood floors and a beautiful bar area.  We sidled up and started to learn about their vines.  Little breadsticks were my saving grace as we sipped and sipped some more.
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After the tasting, we bought a bottle and went out back on their patio.  Some of us took naps in the sun : star-fished on the ground & loving life {cough, Carley}.  We toasted to friendship & love, as we looked at the rows of vines grown there.  What a neat place to have a summer party or a murder mystery dinner!
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A pretty spectacular roundup of the troops and we’re onto the next one!  Benziger Family Winery for the win!  This next one is a little blurry for me.  Understandably so; three vineyards in and I’m reaching my limits.
We made a pit stop potty break upon arrival (extremely necessary says the girl with the squirrel-sized bladder).  Then we hop on an extended golf cart for a tour of the vineyards.  Our tour guide explained the wine-making process at their location and the background story of the family that built Benziger into what it is today.
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I’ll be honest, a lot of what he said went in one ear and out the other.  We stopped along the tour at a little wooden hut and cracked open a white bottle of wine.  He served it to us in logo-etched wine glasses – nice touch.
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Cool little place.  Gorgeous farm animals to fertilize the soil.  Fluffy, mop-headed cows and little baby goats.  Ten points to Gryffindor for the golf cart ride, as I was not about hiking all over those poo-filled rows of vines.
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The middle of the tour took us into the wine caves where, guess what we did?… had some more vino.  It’s a lot of traveling small distances and then drinking wine.  Rinse & repeat.
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There was a really neat room deep into the cave that we all grabbed a spot at.  It felt very Knights of the Roundtable-esque, with tapestries hanging on the wall and unique art pieces.
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In the wine cave, I got in trouble for trying to snag some more breadsticks, but, please, this was a girl looking after herself!  Atleast some part of my mind knew I needed water and food.  Stat.
We circled around the vineyards on the golf carf and finished the tour in their Main Bar / Tasting Room.  I couldn’t tell you what took place in that space.  The next thing I remember is getting into the limo and somehow making it home in one piece.
Now, THAT was a tour of Sonoma.
Dinner plans were supposed to involve a bacon-infused local hotspot called Zazu, but we couldn’t make it happen.  We grabbed a variety of chicken breasts and brats at the grocery store to grill-out instead.  And it rocked our socks off.
Oh yeah, and we drank water, lots of water.
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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Scottsdale: Saturday

Good morning sweat box! We woke up and got our daily caffeine fix at Village Coffe Roastery. Dirty Iced Chais and a pistachio muffin. Both of which we’d all vouch for. There was a small shelf for the locals to store their coffee mugs (kinda like beer mugs being kept in lockers in beer halls of Germany). Cool location, great coffee, definitely gave us some energy! photo 1photo 2photo 3 Next up : SPIN! One of the first times I visited Scottsdale – Kates exposed me to this exercise phenomenon called Spin. But down here, they do it WAY differently than I’ve been used to. The room is black, blacklights, concert-volume mixed pop music, and everyone is 110% balls to the wall. You leave dripping with sweat, feeling like you just scaled a mountain and conquered world peace after 60-minutes. We took spin at the Madison Improvement Club. Screen Shot 2013-06-30 at 10.32.51 PM It’s a swanky spin/yoga boutique with a modern health cafe on the inside. You even have the option to preorder your food before your class so it’s ready and waiting for you to inhale afterwards. Yesterday was Orange Theory and today was Spin… let’s just say our thighs and quads were on FIRE. Like literally on fire. The music was excellent, the instructor faced us and called people out over the eardrum blasting noise to “sprint! sprint! spring!” At the end of the class, on a normal, non-Hell temperature day, they open up the front wall to a gorgeous view of Camelback Mountain. We were thankful they kept the doors closed this time around. photo 1 copy 2photo 3 copy 2 photo 2 copy 2photo 4 copyphoto 5photo Our refueling took place at a great place in Old Town Scottsdale called Chop Shop. Are you getting the theme of a Scottsdale visit? Workout, REALLY hard, and eat at REALLY awesome restaurants! Cardio, fuel. Spin, brunch. It’s a cycle (ha!) and we love it! At Chop Shop I had the Zen Bowl: scrambled eggs, spinach, mushrooms, onions, white cheddar and brown rice. Ah-may-zing. We dined outside under the misters and gradually live was returned to our legs. photo 1 copyphoto 2 copy photo 3 copyphoto 4
After refueling, we ran a few errands. Katie dropped her iPhone and completely shattered the screen. Is this a sign she’s on it too much? 😉

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It was time for a dip in the pool. Two hours of pool to be exact. After we cooled down, we showered, made a few drinks for the road and headed to Fashion Square Mall to get the heck out of the heat. The drinks were not, in fact, for the road but instead for a little adventurous shopping. We had a few dressing room dance parties, and enjoyed the latest in POS checkout technology. #nerd

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Something that lights my heart on fire when I’m with these girls is we always make friends where we go.  One stop at Fashion Square was to LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics.  The moment we walked in, we were greeted by a young man who inquired what brought us in.  He told us about himself, how he’s a ballet dancer, and recommended tons of products to us!  I told him I really wanted to get a great facial mask and also something to tame down my insane long locks in this heat.  He recommended, and I purchased, Mask of Magnaminty and Sea Spray for my hair.  The whole place is well done with a beautiful font and the way they display their products.  The masks look like they’re displayed at a salad bar on ice.  The large wedges of soaps reminded me of the enormous wheels of Gouda cheese in Amsterdam.  I fell in love with Lush today after I read their We Believe statement.

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After we exhausted all that Fashion Square had, we drove to Scottsdale Quarter to continue our night. A stop at the Apple Store allowed us to get Kate’s a new iPhone and also allowed a little time for Carley to change the backgrounds of multiple devices to showcase a really hot picture of Hugh Jackman.

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Dinner took place at True Food.  Another Scottsdale staple – incredibly healthy, organic spot.  You can order anything and everything on the menu and be 110% satisfied.

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I always get the Chicken Chopped Salad.  There’s something about the way the manchego cheese, marcona almonds and jicama mixes together that it takes me to my happy place every time.  We split the Vegetable Crudités starter – it was like a wonderful garden on ice with fabulous dipping sauces.  Really cool presentation – we were impressed.

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Katie is friends with a manager and she brought us these delicious honeydew melon vodka cocktails (which we of course, cheers’ed).  The back end of the restaurant near the outdoor restroom held this garden, sink washing station that caught my eye in the setting sun.  Love True Food, always have, always will.

photo 2-1photo 2-2The end of the evening brought us to a 3-story Restoration Hardware, because let’s be honest, you know there’s going to be some good stuff in there.  I only fell in love with 75% of the store.  Carley tried out many chairs and we decided this one most resembles her walk-on role in Game of Thrones and thus she had to buy it ($15,000 later….).

photo 3-2As we walked up the flight of stairs, I marveled at these hanging chandeliers inside of bird cages, hung by thick shipyard rope.  I need a big house, with tall ceilings, so I can properly hang them. #wishfulthinking

photo 1-2We made friends with the gentleman that greeted us at the entrance, named Brian.  He took us on the Grande’ Tour of the store and priced out different couches we laid on.  We, of course, knew at this time they were out of our price range but we laughed and he enjoyed chatting with us.  He looked up prices on his iPad and we walked through all the different rooms, quickly falling in love with every duvet and medieval spoon we found.  We bid Brian a good evening, bought a few little trinkets, and made a swift stop at It’Sugar candy shop for some pineapple gummi bears and chocolate covered oreos.

The evening ended with another hilarious round of Cards Against Humanity.

Loving this adventure,

xo

 

Listening to.

 

 

 

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Scottsdale: Friday

Carley got in Thursday late night – we spent the evening hours giggling and catching up.  On Friday morning, we woke super early to catch Katie’s favorite Orange Theory class at 6:45 with Jesse.  I can see the attraction, he was HILARIOUS.  Think Will & Grace + muscles + fabulous smile + high-energy fitness.  It was somewhere between the second circuit and the side planks when Carley leaned over and said something along the lines of, “You two are insane for liking this.”  Needless to say, we were extremely sweaty, spent and ready for some refueling.

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Breakfast took place at Daily Dose.  We settled on Micheladas.  Served as a iced glass of lime juice, a Mexican beer, and a small carafe of tomato juice.  Kind of like a beer-garita or sorts.  We weren’t entirely impressed.  Decisions couldn’t be made on what to order, as everything looked good in our deliriously hungry and sore state of mind, so we decided to share the Banana Bread French Toast, The Hangover Sandwich and the Breakfast Nachos.  All of which were delicious and most of which we brought home as leftovers.

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After our refuel session, we grabbed a few supplies at Costco.  A weekend with your girlfriends requires a few staples.  For example, large glass bottles of vodka.  The one on the right was purchased, we plan to empty it.

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As we walked around Carley began to feel the muscle burn that Orange Theory brings.  She spent a bit of time lounging in agony.  At Costco… and at home.

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We hightailed it home, changed into swimsuits, made a cocktail and beelined for the pool.  There wasn’t any laying in the sun, there was strictly underwater lounging… it was hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk.  Later into the evening, Scott treated us to Oregano’s.  We needed to get out of the apartment as the AC isn’t working properly and we were going slightly stir-crazy.  It worked out well because a trip to Arizona is.not.complete without dining at Oregano’s.  We shared the Vino Bambino salad (UNREAL) – and Uncle Ray’s Sausage & ‘Shrooms pizza.  Entire confection.  Totally satisfied.

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After dinner, it was time to doodle in Paper by FiftyThree and laugh at the good fortune of having close friends.

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Sleeplessly sweating,

xo

Dreaming of.

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adventure time: round-three

I’m going to try something a little different. I have not been keeping up on my blog and it isn’t for lack of trying… my life has been nonstop, less than 6 hours of sleep, work, work and more work.

After Vancouver – I spent a weekend in Chicago w my girlfriends (I will post about that once I’m back)…. then I worked the good old Minnesota State Fair for 9 long days straight. Which brings me just about to my current spot.

I’m sitting at Gate E12 about to get on a plane to Dublin, Ireland. My girlfriend Chelsea and I have decided to take a 10-day trip to the land of leprechauns and Jameson-induced debauchery.

On the docket: visit the Cliffs of Moher, hike the landscape, Jameson distillery, Guinness brewery tour, sleep in a castle and spend many an evening in pubs, chatting up the locals.

I’m utilizing the WordPress app on an iPhone, let’s see how this works!

Nothing like the old ‘work hard play hard’ adage… I have worked my tail off in the last 6 months and am about to depart on a third adventure. It’s all about the work-life balance. Find out what works for you!

Small to medium size shout out to my parents for watching my Yorkie, Oliver, all of this time. He’s such a good investment, eh?

I’ll toss a Jameson back for everyone of you!

Cheers (literally!)
Xo

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A quick thank-you to charging stations at the MSP airport! #thankful

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