Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Napa: Day 1

We woke up rested at 7 am, Texas time was 9 am, ate breakfast at our hotel cafe, and used my new email address to get 50% off our Uber ride. Speaking of rides, we chose to Uber everywhere this first day. There are plenty of Ubers around and you get to meet all sorts of interesting people!

We set off to our first stop of the day: Schramsberg
Schramsberg is located north of Napa in the town of Calistoga. Our plan was to start there and work our way back down the Silverado Trail. Schramsberg was recommended to us by our friends, the Smiths. It is sparkling wine and you get to take a tour through the caves where they store all of the wine. However, they have one delicious red wine that the newer owner, J Davies, makes that was nothing like we have ever tasted. It was so smooth and I could have stopped right there and been perfectly happy with our trip. 

When we got picked up from Schramsberg we went to a little lunch place recommended by our tour guide at Schramsberg. The place was called Goose and Gander.. and she recommended "duck fat fries"...... so of course we went!!! Duck Dude got chicken wings that were phenomenal and I got an arugula and asian pear salad that was also fantastic. Duck Dude had an old fashioned that had a massive ice cube, and I had a winter something, that was so refreshing. We had to eat entirely too fast and I wish we could have spent more time here.. it was exactly what I was picturing in my mind.

The next stop was: Quintessa
It was on top of a hillside with a beautiful look out over a lake. Here you got a personal tour guide which was different than our group of 10 at Schramsberg. We got to know her very well and ask all the questions we wanted to, which pleased my husbands' heart. We learned a little more about the process and got to try three of the $165 a bottle wines they have. 

The best thing happened when we were getting ready to leave Quintessa. We had some time to kill and was asking our tour guide if there was any good spot to go right around where we were. She mentioned a spot a mile up the hill across the street, and a local guy that was there picking up his wine said, "I'll drive you up there." We happily accepted and hopped in his BMW to drive up the hill! 

Cue: Auberge du Soleil 
The most beautiful spot in the entire world!!!! We got a table right on the edge of the patio and had an unobstructed view of the valley in front of us. We talked a little March Madness with the table beside us and sadly watched Baylor lose on my phone... however, how can you be that upset when you have a view like this? 

After this incredible view, we went to Robert Sinskey. This was a great one to end the day. We did not do a tour and just did the tasting, with snacks! :) We stuck our fingers in the Coy fishies mouths and went back to the hotel to get ready for dinner!

Dinner reservations were also made by our friends, the Smiths. :) At dinner at their house one night they were flabbergasted we had not made reservations. So, Ashley called them right there and made our reservation! We did indeed go to Farmstead and they were not lying. I drank a fantastic margarita that tasted so good after a day full of wine! We were a little early and got to mingle at the bar with the locals that were there! The locals told us about these cheddar biscuits that reminded me of Red Lobster, but were still outstanding. Travis ate the short ribs and I got a pork chop over jalapeno grits. The food was phenomenal. It was an outstanding recommendation. 

And that concludes day 1! What a marvelous day it was! 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Napa: Travel Day

Most of you know that Duck Dude and I jetted off to Napa for our one year anniversary trip! How it's been one year of marriage, I will never know... but I hear it does not slow down from here. Here's the recap of day 1. 

We flew into San Francisco and got into our rental car rather quickly. Duck Dude, of course, asked for the 1 year anniversary upgrade and got us into a Toyota Camry with leather seats. I do not know how he manages to do that. And we set off on the hour and a half drive to Napa. 

My favorite thing right off the bat was all the geo-filters of snapchat.... I know, such a millennial generation statement... but it's true!!!! Look how awesome they are... did you know that South San Francisco is known as the Industrial City? Things I learned from Snapchat... that could be a whole 'nother blog post on it's own! 

Then, we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge.... and I am not gonna lie, it was really cool! We crossed it right at sunset and the view was beautiful. We saw Alcatraz on the right and a thousand walkers/bikers enjoying the view too. It was beautiful. We have already talked about if/when we go back, we would like to have a little more time to explore San Francisco. 

One of our favorite things to do while exploring a new city is look at the cost of houses. We're HGTV nerds and had a blast looking up homes for sale while in Los Angeles for my cousins wedding. We didn't see a whole lot of for sale signs, so we just started picking out addresses and looking them up. Here's one: 

All of the houses are directly on the main street. This one does have a garage.. 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1515 square feet. Want to know how much it sold for in June of 2015?..................... the suspense has got to be killing you! Did you take a guess in your head? If you guessed less that half a million...... guess again....... It sold for $720,000. That is a sale price of $475 per square foot!!! Whaaat? Crazy, right? 

Our favorite of the entire week? This lovely house right by our hotel that is FOR SALE!!! A historical landmark that has been used as an office building... and it's only 3 million dollars!! Cool, huh 

Anyway, back to our trip. We arrived at our hotel and loved the quaint-ness of it. There were about 146 rooms and it was right on the river. We would stay there again and recommend it to anyone. The staff was friendly, accommodating, and we had a blast. The first night they were roasting smores on the back patio. We ate in the cafe in the hotel and headed out to roast smores. 

Make it a great week!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Best of: Easter!

It is my Friday! For the first time in my six years of teaching... I get tomorrow off! Typically it is a bad weather make up day... and we have had to make that day up every single year. I am so thankful for a day off. I am going to spend it with my momma. :) 

So, today, is best of Easter edition! 

Peep Smores
Not gonna lie. Just saw this on Pinterest yesterday and was like whaaaat? I don't like chocolate.. and I don't really like peeps.... but everyone else on the planet does!!! Want to be the coolest person at Easter?? Bring this!! Click here for the link to the recipe!

Green Bean Casserole
Another favorite around my household.... both pre-marriage and post-marriage. Fun fact: most grocery stores now carry a gluten free cream of mushroom! However, on Easter.... I eat the real thing! :) There are an extreme amount of variations of this recipe.... but here are a couple of my favs! Play with how you like, but whatever you do... I have learned to double the recipe. I also love it just as much cold the next day... ohh yes! 

Pioneer Womans Recipe... you can never go wrong with that pionner lady. She is so good. I love the cayenne pepper in this recipe. Green beans with a small kick.. yum.

Southern Living Recipe from 2011... my favorite part of this recipe is a little bit of ranch dressing mix and fresh mushrooms. I love mushrooms. 

Campbell's Original Recipe.... of course I would not leave this out! It is just too classic. I love the soy sauce in this recipe.. and I always add a little cheese! 

Carrot Napkin Holders
If your Easter is anything like ours... there's typically at least 20 people eating at Carole Ann's house. Therefore the classy silverware goes out the door and the plastic silverware is the way to go... Look at this adorable way to Easterize the silverware! Don't want to buy ribbon? Twine would look just as cute! Click here to see a quick tutorial!

Egg Cracked Painting
Are your kids too cool for Easter Egg hunting? Check out this awesome idea! It could be post Easter Egg hunting in play clothes.... or get washable paint and I think it would be an adorable picture still in their Easter attire! The process is simple.. Fill eggs with paint, cover with tissue paper, throw at a canvas! I would enjoy it myself! Click here to see!

Easter is one of those days that just gets me... I think it's mostly Easter music. Singing about Christ dying for me and rising again always makes me emotional. Pair that with good food and family time. It's always a good day. What are your favorite Easter traditions?

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Spring Time Centerpiece

Back in February, Shop Mama was put in charge of the women's table for the Duck Banquet again. She lets Sister Laura and I help... but she is the backbone of the table. We were gonna decorate the table by putting some of the jewelry on wine bottles. So Shop Mama forced me, held a gun to my head, put a funnel down my throat and made me drink wine. :) Shop Mama drank some wine too and painted her bottles with gold spray paint. I decided to spice mine up with some gold glitter, because glitter. The table turned out so beautiful and even better, we all won something off it!
The bottles started just how all my other centerpieces started.. scrubbing the labels off with hot water and soap! I used washi tape and my official measurer, Duck Dude, to help me make sure they were uneven, but somewhat coordinated. I'm pretty sure that's what the official interior designers call it. 

Next was the glitter and mod-podge. If you're going to do this, you want the consistency to be like sand... it takes a lot more glitter than you think, so just keep adding some slowly until you get it to look thick. 

I only did one coat, but if you weren't satisfied when it dried you could absolutely do another! I peeled the washi tape off, and didn't mind the little imperfections that are only visible to me. Next, I went to hobby lobby in search of my favorite flower, a tulip. I wanted some pink, very spring color to put in my bottle and didn't like anything I found. My plans were to head to Michaels.... but the next day I walked into Sprouts and they had fresh, beautiful tulips on sale for $5.99.

I couldn't even wait for the tulips to open a little bit before I took a picture at the perfect dusk light. I smiled for days when I walked in and saw how gorgeous they looked on the table.

And now, I'm waiting for Sprouts to have a sale again, because nothing says Spring like fresh tulips!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Sloppy Joe Quesadillas

Y'all. This is the absolute, perfect quick night dinner recipe. Combine it with the comfort food taste of manwich, and it is going to be a good night. 

Sloppy Joes. If your mind does not go straight to the Mary Kate and Ashley movie, you probably did not grow up in my house. Ya know, It Takes Two made in 1995... where two lost long twins find each other and bring their parents back together? Also makes for a great Halloween outfit with a coworker... the only problem your students who were born in 2000 will not know who you are. 


Cool, Mollie. How does this apply to sloppy joes? Well, there's a scene where Alyssa (the rich twin) gets exposed to sloppy joes for the first time in her life. And her reaction is oscar worthy.

So, why not take all of that goodness and infuse it with my favorite Mexican food! Quesadillas! Sloppy Joe quesadillas! It is brilliant I tell you!!

You could definitely add in plenty of other ingredients... jalapenos, mushrooms, bell peppers... but it is also just as good like this! Enjoy!