Tuesday, September 16, 2014

the golden gate city

song pair: California Dreamin' by The Mamas & the Papas

it sure is restorative to relive experience. i am reminded of each detail of our summer as i review and gradually post about each. it feels more acceptable to be behind, when it evokes such elation.

as we cruised toward San Francisco, via Napa, we stumbled upon Muir Woods. what a spectacular place. we hiked in for awhile, stared at the ginormous trees and hiked back out. an equally awe inspired moment was the 'park & ride' bus to the entrance. steep ledges and no guard rails with a completely uncontrolled outcome. our knuckles were white as we anticipated the woods...thankfully followed by a peaceful hike.

speaking of greens, the first thing i noticed about the city was the abundance of succulents. they are growing out of cracks in the street and seem to find residence in every planter. i loved that. 

one of my very favorite aspects of San Francisco was the asian influence. this China Town is an active place of hustle and bustle. since it is the largest China Town outside of Asia, it truly felt like a different country. 

if you ask my southern gent, he will tell you i am forever craving asian fare. it was like my own personal foodie playground.

the streets were filled with bunches of fragrant blooms.  

and strangely convenient toilets in the middle of a pedestrian median.  

the slope of the streets are wild to see and even wilder to climb. and we climbed. with the exception of a cable car joy ride, we walked everywhere. it helped generate healthy appetites for our next bite to eat. i kinda boycott public transportation on vacation. these feet were made for walkin'. it really does enable seeing all the sites.

i always enjoy a good tourist trap. 

the second day started nice and early with a power breakfast. 

we strolled around Alamo Square and little boutiques in Ashbury Heights. 

the ferry building had the feeling of a high end farmer's market. 

that evening we cut our pizza with shears at A16, an intimate italian restaurant in Cow Hollow

the ferryboat under the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz was a thrilling highlight.  

a whirlwind of interest, San Francisco was adored by these two journeyers. travel has evolved into a beloved form of escapism for us. and it works beautifully.

Monday, September 8, 2014

happy birthday to meeee

well hello, 36. it is nice to meet you. i plan to do good things with you. i haven't set my goals yet, but i will. 35 was a great age to be. i tried to be a better friend at 35. i am confident i was, and i am feeling rewarded with stronger friendship. that feels good. i became a better businesswoman too. here was my post last year, i sounded quite spry. i had already had my Christmas card photos taken? whoa. we celebrated my birthday weekend downtown again this year, thankfully some things never change. i will always be an urban girl. it was another first friday and i came together with some fun and wonderful friends. they were so generous and certainly made me feel celebrated. the happy husbands were snapping photos.

i felt inclined to picnic this weekend. i might do more picnicking during my stint at 36. this weekend was a start.

here we were at Lassiter Falls:

this was right before southern gent came home with take-out sushi. we picnicked in the bonus room.
it was my version of perfection.

every birthday evokes reflection. where am i? how am i doing? what can i improve? what is next? i hope to continue learning and growing as i reach my potential in this life.
i am happy and grateful for the good and the hardship that have crossed my path.
i have a few more breakfasts and a dinner before the celebrating is over. oh and quick little trip for another friends birthday coming soon.

cheers! xo

Thursday, September 4, 2014


song pair: Red Red Wine by UB40

Napa is like something out of a dream. it is simultaneously quaint and intimidating. in some ways it feels like it would be quick to discover...and in other ways, one could never master the range of knowledge encompassed in this land.

we stayed within walking distance to downtown, arriving on the most american holiday in July.

most everything is centered around wine, but in a classy subtle style.

we enjoyed a festival and street fair, pre fireworks.

it took several attempts to capture one behind our heads, hooray for the US of A.

the very next morning, we awoke and scurried out to meet our driver. we had planned a day of touring six wineries. there was no chance either of us would be suited behind the wheel. we handed our keys to a trusted professional.

here are a few images and explanations of what our day entailed:

you might remember, back in February, we attended a wine dinner hosted by the Reynolds Family Winery. we met Steve Reynolds and heard tales about his property in Napa. he was once a dentist but decided to sell everything and journey towards wine making. their vineyard was our first stop that early afternoon. it felt very special to be there.

our second stop was paraduxx. loved the wine and duck paraphernalia.

afterwards, we ducked into oakville grocery to grab gourmet sammies for a picnic lunch.

we toasted another tasting and munched on our lunch at sequoia grove.

the most intimate tasting came after lunch. continuum was unforgettable.

caymus vineyards were enchanting. 

fleury was our final tasting. it felt very alice-in-wonderland to me. whimsical and personal.

we finished our day, on the waterfront, sipping Moscow Mules and reminiscing about our afternoon.

the very next morning, before we began our adventure down the PCH, we strolled down to the Model Bakery for one of their famous english muffins. as i gazed across the table at my english studmuffin, i felt very grateful indeed. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

hello instagram!

the other night I was lying in bed listening to the purring snores of my southern gent, when an idea crossed my mind. the bulk of my really good thoughts happen in solitude. i picked up my phone and promptly deactivated my facebook account. moments earlier, i had come to the realization that i have lost my wonder. i had ceased to wonder about family and friend's lives. forms of social media have compromised a wonderful part of my imagination. i have noticed that social gatherings have changed. i don't have many questions for friends, because i know what they have been up to. i know their child got a haircut last week and they just returned from Jamaica. i know school started for a friend's teenage son and another friend just ended a marriage. it has stifled my curiosity and inquiries.   
i want that wonder back. i want that innate desire to run into a friend and have an authentic conversation about where their journey has been taking them. 
there are certainly elements i will miss. my facebook experience was always positive. i generated ideas and smiles scrolling down my news feed. i luckily did not experience any dramatic encounters in the multiple years i have been a member. facebook connects people like no other outlet ever has. i absolutely appreciate the time spent. and i can always re join if i get the itch. 

until then, you can find me on instagram. i will have a much more private profile and mostly only follow people i don't have a personal connection with. you know, gwen stefani and lady gaga. 

my hope is to pick up the phone more and write more emails. i hope to restore that wonder and i am confident it will swiftly return. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

concert season

song pair: Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars

hello strangers! wait...actually i'm the stranger. apparently i took the summer off from blogging. i had no idea that would happen. i got busy living. the inspiration for blogging comes from life. breathing in the fresh air and experiencing the days. i suppose i had to do that for awhile. when i am immersed in life, i generate new material.
well, i am back and ready to share again. i think i will condense the summer into a couple posts. it has been a happy summer, somehow they always are. it's a choice we make every day, every season.

the summer commenced with concert season. i dream about concert season. i always think i will see several concerts in the summertime. the idea of tailgating, outdoor venues and a cool evening breeze are so inviting. swaying to the tunes, dancing in your own little space & singing every lyric.

my reality this summer was two indoor concerts. not exactly my plan, but they were equally epic.

the Bruno Mars show was sexy and fun. my friends and I were blown away by his charisma and talent.
his energy was contagious as he charmed us with his poetic words.
i am a firm believer that music elevates any experience. a favorite moment, when attached to a song, will always stay alive. i love when a tune comes on the radio and reminds me instantly of a person, place or event. the influence of music runs through my veins.

one of my favorite life moments happened at one of these summer concerts. the power of music was alive and well. southern gent and i took four little ladies to the Katy Perry show. the buzz of the night was visceral. there was intense energy in the building and among these four gems. our hearts were racing in anticipation of the first song and the first glimpse of Katy. as soon as she stepped on the stage and began singing 'Roar', I was moved to tears. the english language does not have words for the feeling i felt. to witness four of my favorite people jump, scream, hug each other & sing every single lyric of this uplifting, empowering song...was incredibly moving. you hope young ladies are strong, confident and self assured. i want the world for them. and at that moment they were strong. they felt so good and so happy. i hope they always believe the words spoken in 'Roar.' that moment will be etched in my brain forever. 

it is so good to be back!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

award season

song pair: Fancy by Iggy

June was a big month. so much happening. i glanced back at my calendar, grinning with pleasure at the full weekends. i was very centered in June. i felt balanced. southern gent was quite action-packed (my new word in place of "busy"). His role has changed at work and we are feeling the difference. it's a wonderful change, just takes a bit to get accustomed to. thankfully our communication increases during these times and we don't let a day go by without acknowledging gratitude for one another. we started a new healthy habit. before meals, we each mention something we are grateful for. it doesn't have to be poetic, just a moment to recognize the positives. it's quite lovely, i must say.

June was award season. 

i happened to win one myself. can you say exhilarating?!
annually, The Independent, publishes a 'Best Of' edition. The polls are open for a couple months and locals vote away. i managed to do some self promotion which landed me the top spot. 
southern gent and my mom joined me at the afternoon party. restaurants winners were giving away complimentary samples. i was uncertain what promotional item would best suite my profession. after a brainstorming session, i reminded myself that i love quotes and questions...anything thought provoking. i had recently purchased another set of Table Topics, this time the Happiness Edition. i use these cards often with clients, as Positive Psychology is a large part of my practice. so i stapled 100 of my business cards to 100 of the Table Topics. that afternoon, we distributed the merged cards to other attendees and stated, "Enjoy a positive thought." We evoked many smiles that sunny Saturday.

my good pal Kate also won an award in June. Her recognition was through the Triangle Business Journal for the 'Top 40 Under 40' A couple friends gathered to celebrate her victory. it was a lovely lunch with some serious pizzazz!
to be in a large ballroom with so many successful minds, was contagious.

my take away messages from that afternoon were:
"When given the chance to choose being right or being kind, always choose kind"
-Kate D.

"I maintain success by surrounding myself with people who are smarter and more successful than I am"

both of these quotes resonate with me and fuel my soul.

life is very enriching these days. my hope and wish is that you are feeding your soul with all things positive! 

Monday, June 9, 2014

showered with baby Love

song pair: Teach Your Children Well by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

this charming little family is expecting a baby boy in August. southern gent and i collaborated with friends, hosting the first baby shower in our home. we love this crew. 

side note: there were 16 adults and 11 kids celebrating this baby-to-be. you would never know it by the lack of people pictures. i have found that once the crowd arrives, i am not as active with the photo snapping. i start hugging, babbling & laughing...and the camera takes a siesta. so just imagine smiling faces, I promise there were many.  

here are some happy faces! the two on the left were the masterminds of all the grub. it was quite the spread. a hot dog and hamburger bar...homemade chili, relish, veggies, cole slaw, potato salad, tortellini salad, deviled eggs, blue cheese dip, coconut & chocolate cake pops. it was mouthwatering. 

and each girl left with a nail polish of her choice. 

the signature cocktail was pear vodka merged with pink lemonade. dangerously delish. 

the guys toasted with a cold beer.

the bouncy house was a total success. sweaty, happy kids emerged to eat a bite and sip some water. 

 marty was exhausted by dusk.

we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of this little man. he will be so loved. 

decor: esther@polyestherdesigns.com
she is a genius! 
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This site was made with love by Angie Makes