Monthly Archives: August 2015

Mendocino anniversary 

The end of summer is fast approaching, and I’m antsy to take a trip.  Good thing-I’m going to DC for the weekend on Friday!  Thinking of travel, it’s been a month + since our anniversary trip, so with travel on the brain, thought I would relive the weekend with some photos and travel notes.

The weekend was a total surprise.  I knew we were going somewhere, and driving distance, but David kept everything else a secret.  After David picked me up from work, and as we snaked our way up north, I started checking off places-it’s not Point Reyes, not  Marin, not Sonoma. My heart dropped for a moment  when it seemed as though we were passing the Mendocino exit-I was REALLY hoping it was Mendocino.  David was just faking me out.  We were Mendocino bound!

It’s a curvy drive up 128, and we stopped for a snack at a general store in Navarro.  I splurged on a fancy snack to kick off our very decadent culinary weekend:

As we passed inns and B&Bs, my excitement grew.  Where were we staying? What did David find? I’m definitely the travel planner in our relationship, and was beyond curious about our accommodations.

When David drove up to the Stanford Inn, I was giddy.  Actually, this is kind of embarrassing to admit-I was pretty emotional.  If the way to a man’s heart is through food, the way to my heart is through travel.  Seeing the beautiful place that David found for the weekend  made my heart melt.

The resort is stunning.  All the rooms have porches with spectacular views, the grounds and gardens are lush and green, and there is total sense of peace and tranquility.

This is the view from our room–you can see a sliver of the ocean!

The room was warm and cozy, with a gorgeous wood burning fire place.  Most of our fellow guests were 50+ and when we walked into the room, calming classical music was playing in the background.  What is it about classical music that just melts stress away?

Just before the Mendocino Headlands is a little downtown village, speckled with old Victorian houses converted into inns, stores and restaurants.  David made reservations at Trillium, and we settled into a table in their lush garden by the water. The dinner was incredible and I’m still thinking of the giant, fresh grilled prawns.  My favorite discovery, though,was the Navarro chardonnay.  Buttery and delicious!

The next morning, I woke up in time for warm yoga at the Stanford studio. The instructor made peppermint marshmallow tea, which sounds like an odd combination, but it was so soothing.  The studio  had beautiful floor to ceiling windows, overlooking the garden and grounds.

The resort included breakfast, and despite my reservations about all vegan meal, it was delicious.  In retrospect, the sound of vegan Benedict sounds awful, but the chef knew what he was doing and it was great.

After breakfast, we rented bikes and biked along Big River.  There’s not much more to say–these pictures kind of speak for themselves.  Safety first and absolutely gorgeous nature. 

The resort has beautiful gardens and the restaurant grows most if it’s own vegetables and herbs.  Of course the food is delicious, it’s expertly tended to and incredibly fresh.

Indoor pools, when done with this kind of attention to detail, are so calming. We killed some time in the pool before heading to the restaurant for afternoon tea.

Later Saturday night, we drove back to the village for dinner at Cafe Beaujolais. We sat at a table next to the window and enjoyed more Navarro wine-this time the Pinot noir.  How sweet is the little yellow house with the picket fence? David really knocked it out of the park with the hotel and dinner reservations.

After another surprisingly delicious vegan breakfast, we started the journey home.  We stopped by the water again to walk a bit and take in the views.

Winding back down 128, we (had to) stop at the actual Navarro winery. I’m kicking myself for only picking up three bottles, but thankfully my parents took a recent trip and came back with another :) 

It was an awesome trip.  Although only a few hours from our apartment, and a quick getaway, we kept saying that it’s one of our all time favorite vacations.  It was SO fun to be surprised, toast to a year, and explore a new place.

Remembering this made me super excited for more travel-can’t wait to fly to DC tomorrow!

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Filed under Marriage, Travel

Blank pages

Recently, I noticed an odd design trend.  It seems like a common tip for a calmer, more serene living space is:

to display books backwards?

from Apartment Therapy, City Farmhouse, and Style Caster

When I first saw the backward book thing this spring, I was really getting interested in minimalism.  My gut reaction was, wow, that’s beautiful, so peaceful. A few moments later, I got my senses back. Is this a thing?

Maybe I’m missing something-but isn’t it essentially stacks of paper on display? How would you figure out what to read? As a snoopy guest, it’d be a huge bummer to go to someone’s house and just see stacks of paper.  I love looking at friend’s books and chatting about what they’re reading.

Haven’t seen this beyond the confines of blogs and Instagram, so maybe it’s not an in-real-life thing. Either way, I’m intrigued!

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Filed under Observations

Feel the Bern?

Yesterday evening, while walking back from Trader Joes, I noticed a sweet older couple loading their groceries in their car.

“I like your bumper stickers!” I said, though, it initially seemed like they didn’t hear me.  Their car was adorned in BERNIE 2016 paraphernalia, one of a growing number of Berniemobiles in my neighborhood.

After a few seconds, the owner popped out around her car and shared her hope for Bernie.  Then her eyes narrowed.  She shifted her stance, her voice grew stern, and she sharply stated:

“It can’t be Hillary.  I DO NOT LIKE HER.”

Her vitriol took me by surprise.  She was obviously a liberal voter, yet, her tone of disgust was beyond anything I’ve heard from progressives.  After growing up in Irvine, I’m familiar with Hillary disdain, though, it was always generated by conservatives.

While unexpected, I totally invited her response by mentioning the stickers.  I do love Bernie Sanders, the Berniementum, and the fact he has absolutely elevated the most pressing issue of our time: serious economic inequality. On the issues, he gets it.  After seeing him speak about rising senior poverty and our dire need for improved long-term services and supports, I don’t doubt he’s an expert and prepared to lead.

Yet, a year-ish from the primary, I’m 90% sure I’ll vote for Hillary.  The main reason is elect-ability and the importance of having a Democrat in the White House.  The second is experience-I value a leader with her depth of service. Yet, the Trade Joe’s conversation and Hillary-angst among progressives is concerning. Sure, it is important to have a candidate who may draw moderates away from Republicans.  But what at what cost? What’s the cost: benefit of a candidate who attracts some swing voters but ensures progressives stay home?

The stories of Game Change and Hillary’s 2008 collapse loom large in my mind when thinking about the 2016 candidate. Thankfully, the world is far different today than 2008, and imagine Hillary, and her team, are sharper and more focused.

For me, there’s no real conclusion to this reflection-just jotting down early thoughts on this election.

Searched for a photo of Bernie and Hillary, and this popped up. Don’t really know what else to say about Hillary v Bernie, so I’ll just end with a little Matt Damon :)

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Filed under Oakland, Observations


We’re on quite a hot streak here in Oakland, and its too warm to do anything except sit outside, drink iced tea and wait for the sun to go down.

Recognize that 80+ degrees is hardly remarkable in most of the world, but it is so rarely blazing hot here AND our second floor apartment lacks air conditioning, so it feels like a full on heat wave to me.

Between real summer weather and our Wifi on the fritz, we’ve spent most of the weekend outside, searching for cooler corners.  Yesterday, we ventured out for an early morning hike at Angel Island.

Boarding the ferry at Jack London
The island is beautiful, but it is so dry!  Between the scorching heat, haze of smoke from the distant fires, and the dry vegetation all over the island, the dangerous drought was ever present this weekend.

I loved following these sweet viejitos, donning their CA STATE PARKS VOLUNTEERS khaki vests with pride:

Hats + vests + walking sticks–heart melts.
This morning, I had another gym snow day when I arrived at a spin class a week too early.  With the extra time, David and I drove to Half Moon Bay. 

Photo from a March trip-too hazy for a photo today
Though super hazy, it was wonderful to feel the fresh air and listen to the waves.  I’m reading Joan Didion’s Political Fictions, and thoroughly enjoying it.
After a few hours by the water, David dropped me off at book club at Elysha’s pool. Heather made a gorgeous lunch with delicious salads, and we caught up and discussed Tiny Beautiful Things. 
And now, it is the end of the week, the temperature is starting to drop, and another week begins!

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Filed under California Discoveries

Stockton and Petaluma weekend

Before the week progresses too much, wanted to remember a few highlights from the weekend.

After work on Friday, took the train along the water and got pretty wrapped up in an memorizing-though depressing-new book.

On Saturday, David and I went to our first ever 1 year old birthday party for his colleague’s son. #Thisis30 :) The party-and birthday boy-were both adorable.

Finished How to Start a Fire that afternoon. It reminded me of a more detailed and MUCH darker version of Girls in White Dresses.  It was pretty depressing, so I’m mostly happy it’s over, but it’s still haunting me days later.

Saturday night, we tried a new restaurant-Kyodai-it was excellent. Sunday morning, we drove over to Petaluma to meet up with my parents! They’re in town right now exploring the Redwoods.

Had a feeling Petaluma would be charming and it didn’t disappoint.

We sat in the cutest corner table, at a red leather booth next to the window, and enjoyed brunch at Della Fattoria. Even had to break my no-photos-of-food rule while enjoying a lavender chai latte BOWL.

(not a bug, just a sweet little lavender sprig :))

After brunch, we checked out Lagunitas-it was packed!

And then, it was time to head home and get going on the week :)

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Filed under California Discoveries