3.23.2015

Adventure // Weekend in Wine Country

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We spent this past weekend adventuring in Wine Country! My sweet cousin and his wife gave us a certificate for a stay at a bed and breakfast in Calistoga for Christmas/my birthday! Since it was my 21st birthday, this was the perfect gift :) We just got around to using it now though since I was doing an official Whole30 in Jan/Feb and everything about this weekend was basically the opposite of Whole30 compliant haha. Anyway, we had the most wonderful time and here is a massive photo dump from our trip!
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We stayed at the Wine Way Inn in Calistoga and it was just the cutest! I've never had the pleasure of staying at a B&B before, so I didn't really know what to expect, but we loved it! From my Gilmore Girls watching, though, I figured it would be a cross between the inns Lorelai ran and the B&B they stayed in that one episode ;)wine-5 wine-6
I loved how the entire inn was decorated! It was very pretty & fit the character of the building well.wine-7
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We have learned that there are certain expectations to socialize with other guests when you stay at a B&B (again, that one episode of GG taught me well lol) and we actually really liked this aspect of it! We had great conversations with people over breakfast, while enjoying a glass of wine in the lounge during the evenings, and even while running into people in town. One couple was especially kind to us and even bought us a bottle of wine when we saw them at a tasting room! It was very sweet!wine-9
The breakfast was delicious. Above is the breakfast from the first morning, which included homemade granola, homemade yogurt, fruit, baked pears, blueberry muffins, chicken apple sausage, and bread & butter pudding (definitely the highlight of the meal!). Breakfast was also served with juice and French pressed coffee, which I loved even though I don't typically care for simple hot coffee. I may need to purchase my own French press someday soon!
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After breakfast our first morning, we got ready and headed out to adventure for the day! Calistoga is a pretty small town and has one main street. Our inn was in a great location, so we were able to just walk all through the downtown area and only drive when we were heading outside of the little town. We checked out a farmer's market, wandered into some shops, and visited a tasting room. What was nice about our travel package is that it came with several vouchers for free or buy one, get one tastings at 7 different tasting rooms and wineries. That definitely saved us a lot of money and allowed us to try more things than we would have been able to without it!
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After wandering around downtown Calistoga, we decided to drive to further places. We visited a winery that had a bocce ball court, so we had fun playing a little bit of that after our tasting! We also went to another vineyard before heading back to the inn.wine-10 wine-11
The backyard of the inn was also beautiful and on Saturday evening we decided to just get some good cheeses, crackers, salami, and fruit to have for dinner on the patio while we drank wine and watched Pretty Little Liars on Netflix (confession: we are obsessed) on my laptop. The weather was perfect for this! We later walked around the downtown area of Calistoga to get some ice cream for dessert!wine-12wine-14
The next day, we enjoyed another homemade breakfast and got ready to check out of the inn. Luckily, we still had a couple of free wine tasting passes, so we decided to stop by those places!
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The first one was just directly across the street from the inn and was built to look like an old gas station/mechanic garage. It had a lot of character and a cool vibe. We really liked the wine here and the gal who explained everything to us was super nice!wine-16wine-17
We then just walked a block or so down the road to another tasting room that was so cutely decorated. I just loved this white barn! The whole place had such a nice rustic feel. I thought my orange skirt and I fit in pretty nicely!wine-18wine-19wine-20wine-21wine-22
I think we may have enjoyed the wines here the most and decided to buy a bottle to take home! I'm excited to have two special bottles waiting for us! Now we just need an excuse to break them out :)wine-23wine-24wine-25wine-26
Something I learned about wine tasting: even though you are technically just "tasting" wines, after you visit two wineries or tasting rooms and have had 4 or 5 tastings at each, that adds up to be about 2-3 glasses of wine, pretty quickly too! So, after the second tasting in about an hour and a half, you could say we were feeling pretty good HAHA I would say that this photo of Dai sums things up fairly accurately!

Don't worry, after this we decided to call it quits for the day and walked downtown to have some lunch to soak up the wine before heading home! This weekend was such a great little getaway and we have been so lucky to have had frequent weekend trips lately. I don't want the fun to end! Thankfully we have one more trip on the horizon :)

Our weekend in Wine Country was a great way to continue celebrating my 21st birthday and all the new fun that comes with it! We had yummy food, lovely wine, great weather, and each other! What more could we ask for?

We will definitely be visiting Wine Country again soon!

Have you ever been wine tasting? How was your experience?


P.S. In case you are interested....

Where we stayed:
1019 Foothill Blvd, Calistoga, CA

Where we visited:
1307 Lincoln Ave, Calistoga, CA

1020 Foothill Blvd, Calistoga, CA

810 Foothill Blvd, Calistoga, CA

1 California Dr, Yountville, CA

1171 Tubbs Lane, Calistoga, CA

3.20.2015

Happy List // 8

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Happy Friday! I really think that Fridays are probably my most favorite day of the week. It is usually the day that I am able to get all my ducks in a row and am most productive. It is also filled with anticipation and excitement for the weekend! Plus, it is pay day, which is always nice ;)

I haven't been around much, I know. I have been trying to soak up the goodness that has been happening in my life right now, and haven't been spending much time documenting it here. Sometimes I feel this pressure when it comes to blogging, which I am thinking about sharing more about next week. At any rate, we have been out of town quite a bit this past month and I have been loving the adventures! Now I just need to write about them :)

In the meantime, here's a happy list to kick off the weekend!
+ The arrival of spring time weather.
+ The possibilities of the upcoming summer.
+ Coffee dates with friends.
+ A morning hike at the beach alone with my pup.
+ A clean house.
+ Cancelled classes.
+ Spring break!
+ This weekend that will be spent at a B&B in wine country.
+ All the dresses on my wish list.
+ A new adventure for Dai's career.
+ Deciding to spend a week in San Diego very soon.
+ Making & dreaming up plans for the fall at my new "real" college.
+ Playing around with my Wacom tablet and trying to get the hang of it.

Have a great weekend, friends! I am sending happy thoughts of sunshine your way :) We have plenty to spare here in CA!


3.11.2015

Tips for Surviving Whole30

tips for surviving whole30, whole30, healthy eating, healthy habits, weight loss
It is no secret that Whole30 has been one of the most fascinating, challenging, and life changing things I have tackled so far this year. Though it was difficult at times, I really truly loved the experience and can't wait to keep challenging myself by sticking to the program principles. I am even going to take on a Whole60 next month and am really nervously excited for that journey!

For those of you thinking of starting your own Whole30 or already have, here are some tips that I came up with from my own experience that should help you on your journey!

+ Keep it simple.
I know that a large part of my success with Whole30 was due to keeping it simple. I would look at my meals as a sort of formula (protein, veggies, and healthy fats) and found things that I could quickly whip up to fit that. If you have the time to research or create new recipes, that is great and you should definitely go for it. I knew two things about myself, though, that did not lend itself to doing that every day: 1. I don't like spending very much time in the kitchen and 2. I am lazy. Those are the facts. So, know yourself and do what you need to do to make your Whole30 a success!

+ Don't think "I can't have." Think "I'm choosing not to have."
A lot of the work involved in Whole30 is mental, and it can sometimes be draining. When you start to think of this challenge as something you are choosing to do though, it helps. When you are at a gathering with family and everyone is chowing down on cupcakes and pizza, and you are eating a salad or some veggie sticks, remember that those foods that look pretty appetizing aren't things you can't have; they are foods you are choosing not to have right now. It is pretty freeing to realize that you are not controlled by these things you "can't" have, but are rising above them and choosing to eat things that you know are better for you.

+ Always have a few Whole30 approved snacks with you.
It is advised in the Whole30 program rules to try not to snack in between meals, as you should be eating enough food at each meal to hold you over to the next one. BUT, if you are out and suddenly get hungry, it is better to grab a Whole30 approved snack from your purse rather than pulling into the nearest drive thru. Great snacks on the go include cut up veggies, dried fruit (make sure there is no sugar added!), nuts, and Lara Bars (sometimes...).

+ Use this time to try new things!
To keep things interesting, it is a great idea to try new things! Have you never made anything with eggplant before? Pick one up and try creating something! Tired of just drinking water or unsweetened tea? Buy a bottle of kombucha and give it a chance! This is a perfect time to try new fruits, veggies, meats, drinks, etc. Plus, you never know, you may really love something you have never given a chance!

+ When things get tough, remember the reasons you are choosing to do this.
Sometimes it can be easy to lose sight of the reasons why you started this journey, especially when you are particularly hangry and walking through the bakery section of the grocery store or are chopping yet another damn bell pepper to go with your dinner. In those moments, just try to remember why you decided to take on this challenge in the first place. Was it for your general health? To kickstart weight loss? To help with some pains you have? Whatever your reasons are, remember them and keep going! You aren't going to achieve your goals by giving up.

+ Follow other Whole30ers on social media!
Being able to connect with others on the same journey was great inspiration and motivation! I found that Instagram was an especially helpful source (@teamwhole is by far my favorite!), as scrolling through a feed of healthy foods and others' successes helped to keep me on track. If you enjoy taking photos of the things you make or want to document your journey without spamming all of your followers with Whole30 things all the time, you could even make a separate account devoted to your new adventure! That's what I did and it was a really nice way to keep track of my progress and to see where I started :)

I hope that this was helpful to some of you! Please let me know if you have any questions because I am happy to help in any way I can and can pretty much talk your ear off about Whole30 all day ;)

Have you done a Whole30? Are you planning to do one? On the fence about it?


3.10.2015

A Desert Adventure

adventure, life, desert, nevada, hot springs,
This past weekend Dai and I took a road trip to the South Lake Tahoe/Nevada area to visit a hot spring resort. Two years ago, I got a great deal for a travel package for a 2 night/3 day stay at the resort, after we had visited for a day to use the hot spring tubs while on a snowboard trip to Tahoe. and really enjoyed it. We did have to go to a timeshare presentation as part of the deal, BUT it was fine and I got a check back for the amount I paid, so our stay was FREE! Can't beat that! Although it took us a long time to finally cash in on the package, we had a really wonderful weekend and I'm so glad that I snagged this deal!

Besides spending time together and relaxing in the hot spring tubs, my favorite part of this trip was exploring and taking in the beautiful desert/mountain scenery. The weather was absolutely perfect; 63 degrees, sunny, with snow covered mountains to enjoy from a distance!
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Dai was a pretty good sport and pulled over on our way into South Lake Tahoe for dinner when I excitedly proclaimed that we just had to take photos in this spot. I just couldn't get over the beautiful desert neutrals and knew that making the stop would be well worth it.desert-outfit-3
Plus, we sort of got a little unplanned outfit shoot out of it, too! Glad I decided to dress up a bit for our evening out ;) I normally wouldn't pair my Uggs with an outfit like this, but it seemed like the perfect comfy, mountain touch and like a much more relaxing option than my heeled booties :)desert-outfit-4 desert-outfit-5
Can you see how beautiful all the colors are?! Greens, purples, blues, grays, browns... They are just perfect! I think that my aqua colored top fits right in, yet stands out in all the right ways. I couldn't have not planned it any better!desert-outfit-6
Though making this little stop wasn't his first choice, I think he really enjoyed it and hopefully we can make more stops on our future adventures :)desert-outfit-7 desert-outfit-8 desert-outfit-9
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Usually this entire area is covered in snow, but with the severe drought and lack of rain we have been having, there is hardly any snow to be found anywhere. While I know that the lack of rain isn't good for the environment and that it is a bummer to not get to frolic in the snow, a small part of me is happy to have such lovely weather to enjoy!desert-outfit-13
Our little get away this past weekend has really inspired me to take more short trips so that I can explore more of the wonderful state I live in and the ones near by! So far, my friend and I are planning to try to take a little trip in April, destination unknown :) Just two girls, good music, a car, and maybe a small dog!

My heart was so happy while editing these photos and I'm glad that I am able to document this adventure here on the blog!


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Top // Uniqlo
Skirt // Lauren Conrad via Kohl's
Shoes // Ugg Australia
Tights // Kohl's
Necklace // Forever 21
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3.09.2015

New Month // March Goals + Life Happenings

goals, new month, motivation, march, life,
Hello, hello! Happy March and happy Monday! It is almost embarrassing how little I have blogged in the past several weeks. A lot has been happening in my offline life, and I guess I just haven't had the drive to contribute to this space. It seems that I either blog at full force or not at all. I'm hoping to find a happy medium that I can consistently keep up with so that this space is never deserted!

I'm excited to see what the rest of this month brings, though, as I already have a few adventures to share! Something important that happened to me recently: I decided what school I will be transferring to in the fall! I have been working my booty off the past 3 years, going to community college and working as a nanny, and now it is finally time to reap the rewards of those efforts. In August, I will be starting at San Jose State University and working towards getting my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design (and hopefully minoring or double majoring in photography!)! I originally wasn't into the idea of staying local, but I think it will be good and I'm starting to really look forward to it. Plus, I will be moving closer to where the school is located, so I will get to be somewhere new!

I think that is probably the biggest life update I have to share! Though we are already 9 days into the new month, I'm going to go ahead and share some goals I have for the rest of March :)

+ Make good use of my extra time.
I think I did pretty well at this! I started getting up earlier and also did my best to take Marly on nice walks each day. I would try to get ready soon after waking up so that I was all set to take on the day and not get stuck in my pajamas until it was time to go to work in the afternoon!

+ Read two books.
I read one and a half, but didn't quite reach that two book mark! I'm counting it as mostly a success though because it has been a while since I have spent any time reading for fun!

+ Finish Whole30!
Nailed it! Whole30 was such a great experience and I am really pleased with my results. I am already planning on starting a Whole60 in April! Anyone want to join me for 30 days? Or even the entire 60?

+ Find an extra job.
I did find an extra nanny position for the mornings that I have free and worked with the family for one week. Unfortunately, it ultimately didn't work out. The family and I didn't mesh that well and had different views about behavior. I was disappointed that it didn't work out because it was a great financial opportunity for me, but I think it was for the best and that I wouldn't have been very happy working with them. For now, I have decided to not pursue another nanny position (mostly because there isn't really anything out there for the availability I have) and am going to instead use that time to grow in my field by blogging, writing, maybe finding an internship, practicing my photography, or creating art.

+ Take more photos.
I think this was also a success! I've been trying to take my camera with me more and took a lot of photos on our recent weekend trips. My camera is new, after all, so I need to get plenty of use out of it! I'm hoping to go on a photo adventure with a friend soon, too :)

+ Blog more consistently!
I have not been around here much lately, but I want to change that! It seems that I either blog very consistently or not at all! I need to change that a find a steady pace and schedule that works for me.

+ Try to eat mostly Whole30 compliant.
Dai and I did a mini-Whole30 for 11 days and it really made me feel great since I hadn't been eating close to 100% compliant since ending my official Whole30. I am planning to start a Whole60 in April, but until then, I want to try to eat mostly compliant because I know that I feel best when I do! And I don't want to undo all of the progress I have made.

+ Create a photography website.
I had a site for my photography, but I closed it because I was paying a monthly fee when I could actually create a site through a different platform for free. I'm thinking I will go with Wordpress for now. Hopefully I can get the site up and running, and actually put myself out there for more photography opportunities!

+ Spend time creating art.
In all honesty, I haven't spent time creating actual art since high school. During my junior and senior year, there was a lot of pressure for everything I make to be wonderful and portfolio worthy, so once high school ended, I was just burnt out. That's why I decided to start this blog, and it has been a great creative outlet. I think I am ready to dive back in to creating things just for fun though and would like to use my free time to do so! I don't want to put any pressure on myself and just rekindle my love for creative thinking.

+ Sign up for school orientation.
Like I mentioned earlier, I have made a decision about where I will be going to school in the fall and I'm excited to attend an orientation day next month. Just gotta nail down a date and sign up!

+ Purchase and begin Maiedae's hand lettering e-course!
I have been wanting to learn more about hand lettering for so long! I love Jenny of Maiedae's style so much and am thrilled that they are now offering an e-course. The course seems to be jam packed with so much great information and I'm hoping that it will really help me get started in making hand lettering one of my hobbies!

What are your goals for March?

I wish everyone a wonderful week!

2.25.2015

Whole30 // My Results!

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Hi friends! It's been a while, hmm? I took some time over the past couple weeks to recharge and get things in order in other areas of my life, and unfortunately with that, blogging was put on the back burner. Breaks can be a good thing, though, and now I am back feeling refreshed with new ideas! I have a few life updates and adventures to share, but first I want to share something I've been meaning to for over a week now: my Whole30 results!
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So, as most of you know, in January I took the leap and committed to doing a round of Whole30. I was definitely nervous and unsure if I was going to be able to actually stick to a strict eating plan for 30 days. After doing a lot of research though, I decided I was ready and made the commitment to myself that I would complete the program with no cheating, slip-ups, or excuses. I am proud to say that my official 30 days ended on February 13th and that I kept that promise to myself! (You can read my starting Whole30 post here & my halfway check-in post here)

For those of you who don't know what Whole30 is, it is a 30 day eating program that is designed to change your relationship with food and give you loads of health benefits, such as better sleep, more energy, and weight loss! You strip your diet of things like dairy, legumes, grains, soy, and added sugar of any kind. Instead, you eat simple, whole foods; You get your nutrition through 3 large meals filled with meat protein or eggs, loads of veggies, some fruit, and healthy fats from good oils, nuts, and avocados. Those are just the basics of the program, but I really encourage you to check out the Whole30 site to make a bit more sense of it if you are interested!
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I don't even know where to begin to describe what it is like to be on the other side of my first Whole30! I am feeling great! I have been sleeping better, I don't wake up groggy anymore, I believe my skin is more radiant, pains I had have completely gone away, I am more alert and clear headed, I have loads more energy, and my body definitely made some noticeable physical changes.

Most evenings and weekends, Dai would want us to go for a long walk with Marly, but I would usually drag my heels about it because I wasn't feeling up for it. Now, I have the energy to take walks whenever we want and we have been walking multiple miles at a time. I feel like a new person!

Going back to physical changes, I thought I would share some before and after photos, even though it can be totally embarrassing to put myself out there like that! BUT, I think it is important to see the changes that occurred in just 30 days and to show what the Whole30 program is really capable of! So, here it goes...
whole30-4-2 Can you see the difference? I definitely can! And I feel it too! Overall, I lost 9 pounds and several inches from throughout my body. I am definitely less bloated looking and I feel a lot slimmer.
whole30-5- I didn't think that there would be much of a difference with the before and after of the back view, but I was really pleasantly surprised to see that things are much more "smoothed" out.

Isn't it kind of crazy what just 30 days can do? Sure, it isn't always easy to stick to a program like this, but is it doable? ONE HUNDRED PERCENT. Is it worth it? OF COURSE!

I strongly believe that anyone can be successful with Whole30 if they make the committment to themselves. Really, if I can do it, anyone can do it. Before Whole30, I was that girl that would grab a handful of cookies on my way out the door in the morning because I was too l-a-z-y to figure out something actually nutritious to take with me or plan the time to eat breakfast. Of course, I am a pretty busy girl and am constantly on the go, but there are no excuses for fueling my body with such junk! These days, my meals do require a bit more planning and prepping, but it is definitely worth it knowing that I am doing something good for myself. You are what you eat!

Honestly, there is so much I could say about Whole30 and I could shout from rooftops my love for it. The program claims to change lives, and I am definitely a believer in that now because it is changing my life. I want to keep going and keep changing my body for the better. I want to give it the good stuff it needs, and do my best to avoid the bad things. I want everyone to do Whole30 and will talk your ear off about it if you let me. I am even already planning my next round of it, which I may turn into a Whole60! (Maybe some of you would be interested in doing 30 days together???)

There is still a lot of work to be done for me to get my body to where I would like it to be, but so far I have been loving this journey and hope that I can maybe be an inspiration to some of you who are wanting to embark on their own journey!