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Napa Weekend: Family & Gardens

May 22, 2013

So apparently you have to plan for this wedding stuff. Ideally we’d love to get married in Napa (and by ‘we’ I mean me, Matt would always prefer a pirate ship).  I wanted to lay eyes on Napasome venue options to make a decision before they are sold out so I hopped on a plane for a quick weekend trip to check a few out (yay flight deals so I didn’t have to drive 7 hours!).

Napa became so important to me after visiting a close friend of mine there many times over the last few years.  I’m continually amazed at how beautiful Napa is in every season and am just head over heels for that little piece of the world with so much PRETTY. I’d drive up from Orange County after work to visit my girlfriend for a weekend when I could. Somehow I managed to forcibly adopt myself into her family by showing up in the middle of the night like a lost cat. From jam sessions in the shed, to coming outside to find my car detailed, to delicious home cooked family dinners filled with laughter…I quickly started looking forward to seeing my Napa family just as much as my friend.

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Hiking at Big Bear Lake, CA

April 6, 2013
Obsessed.

In February we went up to Big Bear for the weekend with a group of friends and decided to skip on the crazy crowded Saturday slopes to go hiking instead. We headed to the Discovery Center and hiked the Cougar Crest trail.  The trail is 2.5 miles each way and a pretty easy hike without anything too steep.  What we weren’t expecting was all of the mud! The sun came out and the snow started melting and we shortly found ourselves hiking in slush and mud.  Thankfully I had my all time favorite waterproof Sorel Tivoli boots so I didn’t have to worry about cold, slush, or mud…some fellow hikers were not so lucky. ;)

In love.

It’s a beautiful trail and I fully indulged my tree obsession from taking pictures of them to climbing them. Continue Reading…

2012 Travels & 2013 Goals

January 22, 2013
Gaudi Park, Barcelona

I feel like every year is so crazy different recently, I never know what’s coming at me (or maybe that’s my refusal/inability to plan more than a month or two out), and 2012 ended up being an awesome travel year for me. So many amazing experiences, and quite a few that I was absolutely not expecting.

My 2012 Travel Round-up:

Mediterranean Highlights Tour

I had the opportunity to kick off 2012 with two weeks on Contiki’s Mediterranean Highlights tour checking out Spain, France, Monaco, Italy & Vatican City while meeting awesome people from around the world. That’s one way to set the travel bar high for the rest of the year!

Favorite parts:

  • Biking around Barcelona checking out all of the art – particularly Gaudi!
  • Driving along the French Riviera.
  • Shopping at local markets before picnicking in Nice.
  • Dance parties on the coach. ;)
  • Meeting up with my friend D and her husband after the tour and crashing their honeymoon for a few days while we explored more of Rome.

Pisa, Italy Continue Reading…

Fat Tuesday Paczkis in Orange County

February 21, 2012

I look forward to Fat Tuesday because to me with my Polish heritage and sweet tooth it is the day of the paczki.  I could care less about beads. After much searching it turns out the Polka Deli in Orange is the only place to get good Polish foods in the OC/LA area, and once a year they have paczkis made by a bakery in LA and sell them at the deli.  That seems like a lot of area to only have one Polish Deli, but I’m from Pittsburgh and used to being able to chuck a kielbasa in any direction and hit a Pollock so I’m a little biased.

What is this great delicacy you may ask? Paczki’s are like a jelly doughnut, but with fruit filling and the dough is much richer and more amazing than your average doughnut. Sorry Dunkin.  The big hubbub about making them on Fat Tuesday is because it’s the last day to party and use up all of the food stuffs you’ll be giving up for Lent—like sugar.  I don’t celebrate Lent, but I’m a huge fan of sugar and things that happen once a year making this one of my favorite days of the year.  (If you’re in a more Polish neighborhood you can get them throughout the year, but they’re traditionally the thing to have on Fat Tuesday).

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Sonoma, California

February 7, 2012

I’ve driven through it once or twice and was excited to finally go there this weekend for my friend Deanna’s birthday.  Driving from Napa over to Sonoma is always beautiful.  I love how this part of the world is gorgeous no matter the season or weather.  Since its February the vines are dead which would seem dreary, but most of the vineyards allow mustard to grow wild in the fields blooming bright sunshine yellow all over the hills.

Down the Vines in spring Continue Reading…