Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Napa: Far Niente

On Sunday, we woke up and headed out in our van to Far Niente. This might have been the one that everyone who had been to Napa before was looking forward to the most! We booked it literally 6 months in advance and you pretty much have to if you want to get in. 

This is the only one that had a gate that you had to buzz into. This morning, it was pretty foggy and chilly which allowed Dustin (our Uber driver... just kidding.. Ashley's husband who drove us around all weekend) to take this awesome pictures! 

We got to Far Niente and were welcomed with the cutest sign with all of our names! This 1800s house was so lovely as well and I could definitely live in it if it ever went up for sale (hint hint Trav). 

We got to see their caves and go on a great tour. The boys were most excited about seeing their classic car collection which definitely did not disappoint. 

And then came the wine! And holy moly this was my favorite wine of the trip! Their chardonnay is what they are known for and while our crowd was composed of mainly red drinkers, we all loved the chardonnay. I also loved that they poured a 2010 chardonnay and a 2014 chardonnay. Our lovely tour guide stated it was up to our palette which one we would like more and our group had a good time discussing which one "was drinking better." We also had our cheese plate to pair with each wine. I found out I am not a fan of soft cheese. No thank you. And then we got to the cabs. The one on the far right is the 2010 cab and I could have drank all $180 of the bottle. It was phenomenal. However, most people enjoyed the 2014 cab better. We drank their dessert wine, Dolce, and it was like someone was pouring straight sugar down my throat... but Naked Nick was a fan and bought a bottle of it! 

When we drove up I said I want a picture in front of that door... and I got it! Then we pulled over and all took pictures in the drive. We're relatively sure the lady walking two dogs was the owner and she took our group picture on burst and claimed she "is not really known for her pictures." Now, we have 78 pictures of the 8 of us in basically the same pose. :) 

After that, the boys went to golf and the girls set off on our own adventure!

We went back to Robert Sinskey and hung out with our new friend Connor. He now follows me on Instagram (hi Connor!!). We begged him to come along with us to the next place, but he said he had to stay and work. We made it to Schramsberg and drank some bubbles, and then Twomey! 

We ate dinner at Bottega and I got duck that was the best choice I could have made. 

We came back to our home and I ended up falling asleep in bed with Ashley while watching Law and Order. Sorry Dustin! :) And now, we're ready to plan the next trip!!! Where should we head to next?! 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Napa: Our Love Language

In our family we have a saying, "You stepped off the plane and...." or "You stepped out of the car and..." Meaning we want every single detail, starting from the very beginning of your adventure or trip or fun activity!! 

Napa was definitely that! Trav and I absolutely loved going for our 1 year anniversary back in March, but this time we went for Trav's birthday trip and there were 8 of us. Yalllll. Napa with a group of 8 is SO much fun!! We had a phenomenal group of friends and we had a phenomenal time. We left Friday morning at 7 am and Sister Laura Pocket and Naked Nick were on our flight with us. I actually opted for not taking a dramamine and only took ginger pills. Good news! It worked! I didn't get motion sick on the plane or the hour drive to our spot! 

We got to San Fran about 40 minutes before the other 4 arrived. Our plan was to grab our luggage and get the van. That's right. Van. We had our very own 12 passenger van that was a thing of beauty. She treated us well all weekend! Trav used a company called Zeeba. They met us at the airport and the employee uber'd back. It was so convenient and we would definitely use it again.  

We made the quick drive to Napa and ate lunch at Gott's Roadside. We got to the resort, checked in, and got to move in to our house for the weekend! It was recommended by Ashley's parents who had stayed there with friends. It was the perfect place. We took about 30 minutes to decorate and then were headed out to our first wine tasting. 

Duckhorn. The weather was perfect and we sat out on the patio and enjoyed our wine! 

Next, we had to determine our plan. The original plan was to head to Silver Oak... for a special event.. but there was some traffic in our way. After a discussion, we decided to head to Silver Oak despite the traffic. We arrived a little later than planned, but Ashley talked her way into serving us some wine. At this point, I think we were all antsy and nervous because we all knew what was coming. After a group of 8 girls bothered us for a group picture, the boys knew the plan was to try and separate ourselves a little bit. So, Nick and Dustin started playing tag...... outside of the winery..... so THIS could happen! 

Matt proposed to Stacy right there at sunset. It was so beautiful and just the most fantastic way to begin our trip!! We went straight from there to our favorite dinner spot, Farmstead. If I was going to say you have to go somewhere in Napa, it would be Farmstead. The food is the best and the company that night was stellar. 

We woke up, drank all the coffee in our house, and were headed out for our Saturday. First up was Stags' Leap. Now, there are two similar wineries - Stag's Leap and Stags' Leap.. so if you want to go to the one we went to.. make sure you go to the plural stags.. not singular. This was sister Laura's favorite place of the trip. The 1800's house has the original woodwork and is absolutely beautiful. 

The best part about the house was when Prohibition occured, the wife built a speak easy underneath the house! There was a trap door that led down to an area with the original bar and copper sink and fixtures still there! 

Next, we had lunch at a bakery... which we ate in our van.. before we headed to Pine Ridge. Bernard was our tour guide who ended up being cooler than we originally thought he would be. We made a stop at Robert Sinskey, where we ended up making an appointment for the girls the next day. This night might have been my favorite. We headed to the house and ordered pizza. We played dominos, watched football, and maybe some of us danced on tables.

The quote on the painting says, "Here the poetry is not only in wine, but in song and story, in food and flowers, in all the arts, and in gatherings of people who enjoy them." 

It's safe to say Napa is our love language. 

Stay tuned for my favorite tomorrow. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Koal Saved the Show!

Last night, I had just walked in the door when I received an "EMERGENCY" text from Caroline's best friend. 

Back story. When Trav and I moved to the Flo Mo.. we happened to move about 1 mile from Caroline's best friend's child hood home. Her best friend is now the drill team instructor at the high school right by our house! She choreographed the entire musical that goes live tomorrow night! And it's one of my favs - Beauty and the Beast!!!! Caroline and I are going to the Saturday performance at 2 o'clock! 

So. I walk in the door and receive an "Emergency Beauty and the Beast request." I immediately thought I was needed!!!! I will put on my Belle costume and memorize some lines.... and I will definitely sing "Tale as old as time"!!!!

Unfortunately, Shelby did not need me. She needed Koal. More specifically, she needed Koal to have a duck toy that Gaston could kill on stage. Luckily, Koal had three options for her to choose from! I did have to inform her that the green head duck has stuffing coming out... but I'm sure a quick stitch could fix it. 

She picked out the best choice and now, that duck is going to be in the Beauty and the Beast. And that is how Koal saved the Beauty and the Beast show!!!

I'm a very proud dog mom. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Y'all. It has happened. Shop Mama and Papa Hawg got a lake house!! Those closed last week and this weekend we were headed to the lake house!!!! With air mattresses and patio chairs all packed up, since furniture isn't being delivered until this week! It was kinda like one step up from glamping with my mom. 

We got there and got the grand tour. I am not gonna lie.. it's fantastic!! A large island in an open room with a matching massive room upstairs for activities. Shop picked the bedroom in the back under its own roof. Laura and Nick took the downstairs room with the bathroom and Trav and I took the upstairs room with the bathroom. The extra room downstairs will be a guest room and the extra room upstairs will be a "kids" room with bunk beds!! I love it because everyone ended up exactly where I thought they would! 

Here is our room! The head of our bed will actually go on the other window, not the one we have our air matresses set up on. There will definitely be future posts on the comforter we chose as well as the decorations that are going to go with it! It is so fun decorating another room with Travis! We are trying to go a little out of our element and take some risks with this one! So stay tuned!! The first night we ate taco soup and I took two benedryl and headed to my air mattress. I was so ready to get up and see what the place looked like in the morning light!!

The next morning, the boys were up at the crack of dawn and already raking. The picture I am about to show you is after 8 hours of them raking and burning all the leaves! 

How beautiful!! It looks like paradise just looking at it! While the boys tended to the outside the girls did things like discuss decorations, organize the kitchen, cut drawer liners, and play with Cambrie! Saturday was a perfect day. The wind wasn't blowing the sun was out but it was a brisk 60 degrees. We had a blast in our new spot. The dogs were having the time of their life, Cambrie sat in her chair, and Koal helped me drive the ranger up the hill. 

That night, we had s'mores..... before. dinner!!!! How awesome is that?! Lake house, no rules!!!! Growing up, whenever we road tripped with my bridesmaid Julie's family to baseball games it was always "road trip, no rules".... now I'm taking that theory and turning into lake house, no rules!!! It's going to serve a very important purpose for the next 50 years of our lives. 

By the time we went inside and ate dinner, everyone was wiped, including the dogs. We all headed to bed around 9:30 and no one stirred until 8:30 the next morning. It was the inaugural weekend at Moss... and it was the first of many memories.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Asparagus and Ham Bake

I promise I am working on Napa blogs for our magnificent trip! Until then, here's a recipe from my new book: Cast Iron Skillet 

This recipe began as a "side".... I decided to add ham steak and make it a full meal. It was full of flavor. I was worried about under-seasoning it, so I made sure to add plenty of crushed red pepper. So, it had a nice little kick to it.. which I didn't mind at all! :) 



Put that cast iron in the oven and wait 12 minutes until everything is brown and bubbly!!

There are so many variations I can already think of for this recipe! Different vegetables.. different meats.. but always asparagus. Because we love asparagus. 

Let me know if you try it!!