These Lysse Faux Leather Leggings are the MOST worn item in my closet. They are so easy to throw on with an oversized sweater and can be dressed up or down. In fact, I even have them in dark brown leather and suede. They run TTS and look like leather - NOT plastic.
Last month Adam and I took a trip two Napa with two of our dearest friends. Adam was the best man in Jerod and Meg’s wedding and they invited us a long weekend to keep the celebration going. Jerod is like me, a planner, and put together the most amazing itinerary. He found the perfect Air BnB, set up amazing tours and made sure we didn’t go hungry. I came back seven pounds heavier and pretty darn snobby about what I drink (kidding, I still love Black Box).
I learned so much about wine, the different soils, that the reason I hate Chardonnay is because of Lactic Acid (that milky, thick taste) and that honestly an $11 bottle of Kim Crawford and a $45 bottle of Illumination really aren’t that different. A good Chardonnay is basically priceless to me at this point and tried some Red Blends that were unreal.
October 25th: Calistoga / Downtown Napa
Chateau Montelena (Calistoga) (1:00PM)
This was our first stop and it was a very traditional walk-in tasting. It lasted about thirty minutes and was very educational. We didn’t have the personal experience we did at many of the other vineyards, but it was a great first stop. Especially for Napa newbies! We learned a lot about tasting properly and what to look for in a glass of wine. The grounds are spectacular. It is literally a castle and makes for some beautiful photo ops.
Lunch: Lovina or Brannan’s Grill
We stopped for a quick lunch at a road side BBQ place and it was fantastic. However, both of these places came highly recommended.
Tank Garage Winery (Calistoga) (3:00PM)
This was an awesome experience! We learned so much about the winery and the story of two best friend’s opening it together was really fun to hear. I also loved learning about the story behind each wine label. The wines weren’t my favorite. However, the old gas station turned into a tasting room was pretty cool. It was such a down to earth vibe and we had great conversation with the people running it!
Dinner: Morimoto (Napa) (8:00PM) (C)
The Waygu beef was dumb delicious and the halibut seriously blew my mind. Top notch food. Our server was fantastic, until she wasn’t, but the food was everything we expected.
October 26th: Napa Valley / Silverado Trail
Breakfast: Model Bakery (Oxbow)
We ended up having Buchon (we couldn’t wait for dinner)!
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars (Napa) (11:00AM)
(Tour and Tasting )
This was one of my favorite tours. Meg and Jerod are in the wine club at Stag’s Leap so we had an incredible experience. We were in a small group of 10 and got to sit in the private tasting room overlooking the hillside. The wines were fantastic and the tour guide, did a great job. They even broke out a special bottle for Meg and Jerod to celebrate their wedding!
We loved their Sauvignon Blanc and ended up buying a bottle to drink that weekend.
Lunch: Redd Wood (Yountville) (12:30PM) (C)
Highly recommend for an adorable pizza place. The salads and pizzas were insanely delicious and they have Peroni, if you need a break from wine!
Merryvale Vineyards (St. Helena) (2:00PM)
(Signature Tasting )
This was seriously such a beautiful vineyard. The grounds were gorgeous and the wine was really great. It also is in walking distance from downtown St. Helena which I feel in love with. I ended up scoring an amazing Reiss blazer at a vintage shop. The shopping in St. Helena was wonderful and the shops were so welcoming and warm. We stumbled upon a husband and wife’s new bar and got an awesome tour. It was an old bank and the vault was turned into a tasting room.
Exploring St. Helena is a must!!
Dinner: Bouchon (Yountville) (6:00PM) (C)
We’ve been to the Bouchon in Las Vegas, but knowing the garden our veggies were sourced from was across the street was so cool. I got the Steak Frites and my mouth is watering just thinking about it. The steak tartare was also, insane. If you go to Napa and wan’t amazing food, but don’t want to spend $325 on lunch at French Laundry - GO. HERE.
October 27th: St. Helena / Napa Valley
Quintessa (St. Helena) (10:30AM) (C)
(Quintessential Experience )
This was our splurge tasting of the trip. And I would have paid double for the experience we had. We had a private tour with Nacho, the assistant wine maker’s son. We drove up the side of the vineyard in a ATV and pulled up to a glass treehouse. We sat in a glass room a top the vineyard with views that looked like they were out of a painting. I can’t even put into words how special this was and we were treated to four bottles of unreleased wine to take home.
Domaine Chandon (Yountville) (12:15PM)
If you’re looking for a PARTY, it is here. Lots of mini dresses, lots of sequins, lots of 21st birthdays. We found a table, bought a bottle of Rose and left. The grounds were pretty, but pretty sure I saw PBR cans in the trash!
Lunch: Mustard’s Grill (Napa) (1:30PM) (C)
Iconic and amazing.
Dinner: Bottega (Yountville) (8:00PM) (C)
We had a fantastic experience here. Jerod and I did get into a tiff over the wine (sorry, i love you), the recommendation from the sommelier ended up being insanely delicious and our meals were so, so, so, so good.
There has been A LOT of baby content in the last few months, so to break it up I thought I would share what I’ve recently purchased!
Technically, I didn’t purchase this EXACT Teddy Bear coat, but I can vouch for it. I bought a super pretty one from Zara in a light brown (I can’t find it online) an it is a bit more structured than the Uniqlo one. I’m debating returning it and going for the Beige version. It is lined and a little floppy and SO soft. Get it, please.
This was another UNIQLO score. It was my first time shopping in the physical brick and motor store in Chicago and they have so many great staples. This was $29.90. For my normal fit I probably would have gotten a medium or a large, but sized up to an XL for a my boyish fit. I’ve worn it three times since I purchased it last week and honestly, might need a few more. I washed it on the “hand-wash” setting on our machine with Dreft and it honestly smelled like burnt hair afterwards, but kept its shape and looks good as new!
There are my favorite jeans of all time, the AG MIDDI ANKLE I have a black and blue pair (both distressed). They hit me higher than just a mid-rise and have a lot of stretch, but aren’t SO tight. They also have REALLY small ankles, which I need. I’m a little bit worried that AG is going to stop making them, because they are sort of hard to find online. I actually ordered a pair from Amazon of all places!!!
Here is a look at everything I wore last week in Chicago! I snagged the photos from my Instagram so you could see sources!
We bring Fritz everywhere with us. It has been one of the best parts of parenthood seeing him discover the world. He hears new noises, sees new faces, smells new smells and takes in all of the color and light around him. It really is quite magical.
We take Fritz out to dinner (but have a NO tablecloth rule), he has traveled with us, stayed in nice hotels, and been to breweries in Milwaukee, San Diego, Minneapolis and most recently Little Thistle in Rochester, MN. Steve and Dawn, the owners, are the kind of people every community should be blessed with. Not only are they GOOD people (like the best), but they brew fantastic beer. Steve even dropped off a Little Thistle onesie for Fritz, when he was first born! To say we feel comfortable there is an understatement, we feel welcome, at home, even. It is an escape for us out of the house on a Friday night. Could we get a babysitter, sure? BUT we pay $15 an hour and sometimes we would rather spend time with our child after a week of working all day then pay someone $60 to sit with him, in another house, for four hours.
The reason I’m telling you this is because recently the topic of babies in a brewery came up. Our local radio station published an article by one of their personalities on the issue. I probably shouldn’t have taken it personally, but it felt personal. Primarily since the writer was there the night, I was, with my Fritz and another family and their two kids. Maybe, I’m being oddly sensitive, but it felt like an attack on my parenting. And I’ll say it: I AM A REALLY GOOD MOM. ADAM IS A REALLY GOOD DAD. I don’t need to be told that by anyone, or be lead to second guess it.
Here is the writer’s point of view: babies in breweries are a NO. Please note: this is a brewery, not a bar, though Fritz has been to a bar, too! He loved it and slept the WHOLE time. Adam and I aren’t getting drunk. We are having a drink (maybe two) with friends, to enjoy their company and watch our sweet children interact. Honestly, it is entertaining! They giggle, take in their surrounding, and might yelp a little if they want some milk.
The author said the kids made her feel awkward. She didn’t see the point of them being there, because Little Thistle doesn’t serve food. She suggested parents should plan ahead, find a babysitter and not bring a child to a place where other adults want to get drunk. Again, this isn’t a bar. I personally have never gotten drunk at a brewery. But to each their own. I’m not going to shove my “morals and values” in this woman’s face and tell her if the decisions she makes are right or wrong, but my decision to have my baby at a brewery, made her feel weird. And that is ok, but it makes me feel weird.
“Full disclosure: I'm not a parent, but if I were I wouldn't be bringing my child to a brewery that doesn't serve food. Why do they need to be there? Are they eating food too? (That I understand!) Do I need to censor myself around them because they're so young? Honestly, that's how it felt.”
Fritz is eight months, so unless they serve organic puree, he is not eating. It is milk for that kiddo. And he is going to hear worse things on the playground than he is coming from your mouth.
“I get it - parents need a night out. Plan ahead. If what you really want to do is try a brewery, why not find child care so you can truly enjoy yourself? You wouldn't have to watch them. You could just focus on the beer and each other. I do understand that sometimes finding child care is easier than others, but isn't a plan like this worth a little more planning ahead?
I did wonder if maybe I was being insensitive about this. As I said, I'm not a parent. I went to talk to our resident "Mom expert" Jessica Williams of Y105-FM and got her perspective on this scenario. She said, "I wouldn't bring my kids to a brewery that didn't serve food. I would think that'd be boring for them.""
A few points here, last Friday, I DID TRULY enjoy myself! We met new friends for the first time, and they were SO lovely! Adam and I can’t wait to hang out with them again! Childcare is not cheap, sure we are in a position to afford it, but it adds up. $60-$80 every Friday is the typical rate and to be clear, Fritz does have babysitters! Last weekend he had one from 1 PM - 9 PM while Adam and I were up in the cities at a tailgate-themed couples shower. He is having one overnight when we go up to the cities for the U of M homecoming game. Sometimes we just choose to be with our child, because spending time with our child, in public is crucial to us. Fritz was not bored, we bring toys, we talk to him. We don’t ignore him while we enjoy our beers. I’m guessing the mom-expert’s kids are older than Fritz, but they also might enjoy the old school Nintendo, Pac-Man, tons of board games or the bags that are outside!
Honestly, there seemed to be more parents with kids at Little Thistle than without. Maybe that is where the uncomfortable feeling comes from? Before I had kids I made unfair judgements too. I would get annoyed when a child sitting behind me in an airplane would kick my seat or when when would run in front of my cart in the grocery store. But I get it now. We are all doing THE BEST we can.
I did something I never do, and I choose to respond to the radio station on Facebook, and I had a pending request from the author (I think from a few months ago) and reposted it on her wall. She said it was to keep the dialogue open. I’m guessing the radio station is loving all the traffic they are getting and kudos. But as my friends put it maybe starting a “mommy war” as clickbait wasn’t the most delightful way to go about it.
If you feel so inclined to read the article it can be found here.
I was going to write a post on my favorite "budget friendly" items, but I have to be realistic. In that my life is a pretty good balance of save vs. splurge. Right now I want Fritter to have the best, so most of my $$$ goes to baby gear.
One. Would it be lovely to have the Hermes Apple Watch Band? Why, Yes! Do I need it, nope. This was the perfect dupe at $13.99. I love the taupe/green color and it looks rich. I went to see my sweet friend, Claire, and she coyly asked if I had on a Hermes band. Almost, but this one cost me $.34 because I had some Amazon Card points.
two. Z Supply T-shirts have become my new favorite. They are a little bit slouchy, a little bit oversized, and on the longer side. Bonus they are only $34.99. Which is a steal if you love Vince and Splendid as much as I do. I plan on ordering the Grey Burnout and Green Burnout for fall. Perfect for under a suede Moto Jacket.
three. Rent the Runway - Unlimited has been a live saver this summer with weddings, vacations and events. I plan to hold onto it for a few friends' baby showers in September, wedding events in October, a trip to Napa and another wedding in November. It saves me money paying $159 a month so I don't splurge on trendy items like this MDS Stripes dress that I adored wearing in San Diego. Someone, please order this!
four. This RMS Beauty Un Cover-Up Concealer has saved my life. I'm not huge into green beauty, but this product goes on smooth in two seconds. It isn't full coverage and doesn't and doesn't look cakey, its super light and gets the job done for quick morning errands (hello, daycare drop-off) or weekends.
*UPDATE: MY watch band is sold out in the El Toupe Color by V MORO. I will keep an eye out for it. In the meantime I do LOVE the rich cognac color. BUT this appears to be the EXACT BAND just under a different brandname: buy it here!