Last Days of Sonoma

Since Reggie and I have been to this area before, we discussed what we wanted to do and what we wanted to avoid this time around. We had done the all day wine tasting tours and really just wanted to visit one or two wineries this time around. With the rest of our time we really wanted to do a bike tour of Sonoma Valley! We booked an 8 a.m. tour through our hotel so we woke up extra early to eat some breakfast. I heard that the El Dorado Kitchen in Sonoma recently hired the former Pastry Chef from French Laundry. Let’s just say I had no problem waking up that morning!






I grabbed a vanilla yogurt with homemade granola and fresh strawberries…


And this has to be the BEST chocolate chip muffin I have ever had. So buttery!

Once we got back to our hotel, we met up with our guide, Steve for a 12 mile ride. He was a really nice guy, very friendly and knowledgeable. The ride was mostly flat, with the occasional hill and very scenic.

Throughout Sonoma there are beautiful bike trails that take you around different vineyards and parks. About half way through our ride we took a short break! I was ready for it too because that last hill was killer. I took the time to take some photos of our surroundings. 🙂







Then we climbed back on our bikes and completed the loop back to the hotel. I am so glad we decided to do the bike tour. We saw a side of Sonoma that we had never seen before and got some great exercise in the process. I would call that a successful morning!

After working at the hotel for a couple hours, we were both ready for lunch and I knew exactly where I wanted to go–Fremont Diner. Now, please pay attention because you could miss this restaurant if you do not actually look for it. And trust me you want to look for it.


Check out the signage on the top left hand corner of this photo. Totally unassuming sign, right? Well, this place is AH-MAZING! They have one simple mantra–Eat Local. Now that’s a commitment I can stand behind! All of their food is sourced locally and you can even purchase some of it in the small retail space.


This bar area is built into the kitchen and makes you feel right at home!


So cozy!




Hello….I Love You…MMMMmmmmmm


We grabbed a seat outside with this view. Not too shabby!


I ordered the Fig Roasted Pulled Pork Sandwich with Homemade Coleslaw and Baked Beans. I am getting hungry just by typing this post and looking at this picture. Let me be clear–this was the best thing I ate the entire trip.


The pork was so flavorful and juicy while the coleslaw was cool and crisp offering a little heat at the end. The beans were equally flavorful.


My hubs ordered the Cheeseburger with Caramelized Onions with Homemade Special Sauce. The burger was moist and seasoned perfectly and the sweet onions and flavorful sauce were the perfect complement.


We ended the meal with a Fried Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie. Yes, I said fried! Crispy on the outside, a bit doughy on the inside and filled with the most flavorful fruit mixture ever. Amazing!

We wanted to get in a wine tasting later and we, again, knew exactly where we wanted to go–Buena Vista, the oldest winery in California.



We had to take a short walk to get to the tasting room. I love tree lined paths like this.


This is one of the original barrels used in the winemaking process.




We loved Buena Vista! The employees were full of personality and we really had an enjoyable time. We even ended up joining Buena Vista’s wine club. I love that the wine is only available at the vineyard. I do not like to join the clubs if I can purchase the same wine at my local Trader Joe’s–especially when it is cheaper! But if I cannot find it anywhere else, then it is worth joining., in my opinion. Most importantly, the wine was just delicious! Please try this charming winery if you are ever in the area.


We traveled back the the El Dorado Kitchen for an afternoon snack. We just had to try their homemade soft serve. Oh my was this good! So creamy and perfectly sweet. Reg asked me why I ordered such a large size but before I knew it, it was done. Clearly, he was not that concerned. 😉


We took a walk around the town square before heading back to the hotel.

Dinner was at Sante, which was recently given a Michelin Star. This is a huge honor and after our experience, well deserved. However, it was quite fancy and I was a little camera shy. Please forgive me for not taking photos. I will say this, if you have the means and opportunity to eat at this restaurant, do it. The food was exquisite and the service was so comfortable, that in hindsight, I am really upset I did not bring my camera. I am planning on taking my mother for her birthday in a month. I will return with photos next time!

The next morning we woke up early and packed up to head home. We just had one more place to go…


Fremont Diner: Round 2! We had to go back for what is known as the Almost Famous Biscuits and Gravy! Wow, was this good! Very rich but definitely the best biscuits and gravy I have ever had. Do not miss this place if you are in the Napa and/or Sonoma area.

We are truly in love with Northern California and enjoyed every moment we spent here.

I will be back soon with some of my own recipes! I cannot wait to share some of the food I make at our home.



On The Road Again

We stopped at local diner Jim-Denny’s for breakfast before leaving for wine country. Jim-Denny’s is a sort of institution in Sacramento, known for its solid, American food. There are about 10 seats in the whole restaurant. My favorite part though, is the no nonsense woman (whose name I unfortunately did not catch) takes your order and cooks your food right in front of you.



My handsome breakfast buddy. 🙂


The original restaurant phone. I took this picture because I love old telephones but what made this one hilarious is the note directly on it’s left. Scroll down a bit more to see what I am talking about…


Love this! So sassy! Too bad no one called while I was there. I was going to rock that order!


I ordered a half order of biscuits and gravy. I should probably mention that everything here is LARGE. So tell them how hungry you are before you order so you don’t waste a bunch of food. In our case, she asked us right away and we received the perfect amount of food.


My hubs ordered one of their famous pancakes and it did not disappoint. Thick and fluffy, this pancake was the size of my head–and if you have every see me try to put on a turtleneck, you know that it is huge. Did I mention this was the Jr. size pancake?


Side of scrambled eggs and crispy bacon for my man.


One egg over medium for me, please!


Oh and boat loads of this stuff. I have not really mentioned it here yet but I love coffee. Really, really, love coffee.


We had some final meetings for work and then it was time to hit the road. Wine country is only an hour away from Sacramento. If you are visiting the Valley and want to know what airport to fly into, do not even think about San Francisco or Oakland unless it is much cheaper. Sacramento is by far the most convenient and just as close to Napa or Sonoma, if not closer with a much smaller crowd.


Side note: These last two shots are a bit “distorted” on purpose. Reg bought me some Diana+ lens adaptors for my SLR so I spent the drive playing around with them. I love how dreamy they make the images look.

By the time we arrived in Wine Country, it was just about lunch time and I was ready to…


I knew exactly where I wanted to go too. I went to Taylor’s Refresher years ago in St. Helena and knew I had to try it again on my next visit. This time, we checked out the Napa outpost and the food was still fresh and delicious. The name, however, has now changed to Gott’s Roadside. Honestly, I think the name change is a crazy idea. It is part of the charm! The food was still really good, which is the most important thing, right?





It was really hot out so we decided 2 beers was the most appropriate way to begin our lunch. We ordered the North Coast Blue Star Wheat. Perfectly refreshing.


Then it was time for the main event. Last time I visited Taylor’s/Gott’s I ordered the special which was a turkey burger topped with cinnamon apple onion chutney and it knocked my socks off. Other people must have liked a lot too because now it is on the menu full time.


My husband ordered the Patty Melt. I didn’t try it but he said it was super delicious. Since his nickname is The Burger King, I am inclined to believe him.


Here is my lovely Turkey Burger. They serve most sandwiches on toasted egg buns. I have to learn how to make them at home! When I do, I will share them with you because they really elevate the sandwich to a whole new level. This was delicious. We also split an order of garlic fries that were good but really buttery so I only had a few. Don’t worry nothing was wasted though because Reg demolished the rest of them.


It happened to be Cinco De Mayo when we were there so they gave us these little sombreros which I think are really for salting the rim of your margarita glass but I am very mature and decided to put it on my (large) head.


I heard great things about the Obxow Public Market, which is like a mini version of the Ferry Building in San Francisco. However, I had no idea it was that close to our lunch spot so we happily walked over after our lunch. We were not disappointed.


A grocery area full of local produce!


Oysters, anyone?


Spices from all over the world


Locally made chocolates



Organic Ice Cream–don’t mind if I do!


For me: Rice Milk Horchata and Je Ne Sais Quois (I don’t know what) Strawberry. The horchata flavor was creamy but super light and dairy free! The strawberry had a touch of balsamic vinegar to it—very creative and rich without being heavy. I really wish they had this in Southern California!


For him: Rice Milk Horchata and Chocolate Peanut Butter. Also, very delicious and had that same rich but light quality.

If you are ever in the Napa area, I highly recommend visiting the Oxbow Market. There is something for everyone there, including a wine and cheese bar that was not photographed. It is a cozier version of the Ferry Building with incredible local finds. I will definitely be going back!

Until next time…



I left my heart in…Sacramento?

I have to tell you, I am loving Sacramento! I never really had an opinion about our lovely state capital but… now I kind of want to move here!?

I am serious.

Let’s start with our fabulous home for the week:


Built in 1926 in the historical Cal Life Western Building, The Citizen Hotel is incredible beautiful and charming. The decor is ornate and a throwback to the time of building’s origination. The rooms are incredibly luxurious, filled with modern charms, many of which strive to be as eco-friendly as possible. And the staff is helpful but authentic–always a big plus in my book.



Loved this bar above reception. Such a cool place to grab a cocktail during happy hour. Gin & Tonic for me, thanks!


The decor itself is not the only charming part of The Citizen. In an homage to the political nature of being a state capital, the ambiance of the entire building is special because of the little details. Think framed cocktail napkins “autographed” by notable politicians.



And framed political cartoons next to the bed and in the hallways.


Though a bit pricey, this hotel is worth every penny. I highly recommend staying here if you are ever in Sacramento!

Now, onto yoga. If you follow me on twitter, you know that I was really excited to take some Hot Vinyasa Flow Yoga classes (Baron Baptiste style) while in Sacramento. (Side note: I used to go to Core Power Yoga, a lovely studio in Huntington Beach but since I moved to the South Bay, I have not been able to go. There are no Baptiste style studios in the area. Please open one…please!) Okay back to Sacramento. I found a studio close to our hotel that had a great 10 days for $10.00 special going on AND the classes were heated vinyasa yoga classes! Zuda Yoga has two locations in Sacramento. Reggie and I hit up the Midtown location for a 12:00 class with Kate and we were not disappointed. The class was crowded and I love that! There is nothing like 40 people taking deep Ujjayi breathes in unison. The class was perfectly challenging and I left feeling refreshed, energetic, and hungry (big surprise there)!


I used my Yelp application on my iPhone to find a fun place to grab some lunch. We were thrilled when we pulled up and saw this row of restaurants and bars.


After taking a couple deep breathes (umm yea, I get really excited when I find fun new spots to eat, drink, hang out, and did I mention eat?), we found ourselves at Magpie Cafe .




Magpie is committed to using high-quality, sustainable, and organic ingredients. I am now committed to going to this restaurant as much as possible.


We both started with a Honey Lemonade, which featured local honey. This was incredible delicious and refreshing. Perfectly balanced being tart and sweet. In fact, my husband downed his and then asked me, “there are free refills, right.” Nope! Sorry about your luck buddy. Fortunately for him, though, I paid attention in Kindergarten and shared. 😉


My life/lunch partner. Love him. ❤


Their menu changes daily, which is always fun! I ordered the mushroom panini which featured a white bean spread, portabello mushrooms, and arugula on focaccia. It was served with a side salad but the star of the show was the panini. I sensed hints of truffle oil in the white bean spread, and I couldn’t have been happier. If it wasn’t such a large portion, I would have ate the whole thing!


Reggie ordered the Natural Pulled Pork Sandwich. It was served with an incredibly light potato salad and a tangy (Carolina style?) BBQ sauce. I am not a huge meat eater but I had to try a bite of this sandwich. It was one of the best pulled pork sandwiches I have ever had. The pork was incredibly tender and served with just the right amount of BBQ sauce. I LOVED this sandwich!

*I have to apologize for the giant shadow in the picture. I was just really excited about eating and I took this picture really fast. Oops!


The excitement clearly continued here because this picture is not the best either. Truthfully, this asparagus salad was so good that I am not sure a picture could have done it justice. The asparagus pieces were marinated in a delicious sesame sauce that was also incredibly light and not oily at all. Reggie and I were both huge fans of this dish!


I have a thing for Whoopie Pies (I also really loved Oreos as a child) and when I saw this one, I knew I had to try it. Meet the Carrot Cake Cookie. Two carrot cake cookies sandwiched between cream cheese icing. Unreal. I loved the chew of the cookie and the creaminess of the icing without being sickeningly sweet. Well done Magpie, well done. I will definitely be coming back.

Yea, so like I said, I love it here. 🙂

Have you ever been to Sacramento? What are some other “can’t miss” spots?



Concrete Jungle

Last month I was lucky enough to join my sister as she styled her first runway shows for New York Fashion Week. She is only 22 and already an amazing hair stylist! One of my best friends/cousin flew in from New Hampshire to take part in our NYC adventure too.

I love New York but I hardly travel there. So this time around we did a lot of “touristy” activities (think Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Ellis Island) and loved every minute of it. Of course, my favorite parts were the food (Toasted Marshmallow Shake anyone?!) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I left feeling so inspired that the day I returned I created 8 necklaces alone! Here are a some of the photos I snapped while on my snowy adventure to the concrete jungle where dreams are made of…








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I tried so hard to get a good picture (i.e. my eyes open) but the snow was not having it!