Simply Traveling: Lodi Wine Tasting

Happy Thursday everyone!

Ever have one of those weeks where you’re just dying for it to be Friday already? I have been so exhausted lately! Anyhoot, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve linked up with Current Crush over at The Wright Stuff and I had just the post ready. My Current Crush: Wine Tasting!

For my birthday last year, my parents bought me limo service for wine tasting in Lodi, CA. Basically 4 hours in a limo taking me and 7 other guests wine tasting. I didn’t get to use it for my birthday last year and it expired before my birthday this year so I invited 3 of our favorite couples out to wine tasting just for fun.

We went to 3 fabulous wineries:

d’Art – A lovely winery started by a couple whose passions include art and wine. We met Helen Dart (the wife of the winemaker) and she lead us through a wonderful tasting of their delicious wines. It was only 10:30 am so we were classy individuals at this stop. I walked away with their Chardonnay, it was light and perfect for the last days of summer.

Oak Ridge Winery – Oak Ridge had a beautiful tasting room, with a wide selection of wines. They gave us a free tasting of 4 wines and for their palate cleanser they had pita chips which were a hit at that point in the day. And they have a wine club that can’t be beat! Clearly I had a good time wine tasting there because I don’t even remember the bottle we bought…

Delicato Vineyards – We were lured to this place by a big billboard for Gnarly Head wine and we weren’t disappointed. Their tasting room was so spacious and we sampled 6 free wines there plus a dessert port blend that was delicious. I know we walked away with a HandCraft wine, I just don’t remember what it was… haha

I’ve always been a little intimidated by wine selection but thanks to our first wine tasting I’ve realized that I’m a Chardonnay, Petit Sirah and Cabernet Savignon girl.

I’d never gone wine tasting before so it was a pleasant surprise how FUN and educational it was. I’d be lying if I said we weren’t all LOVING life at the 3rd stop (but we weren’t obnoxious, I don’t think lol). And after 4 hours of wine tasting, we weren’t ready for the party to stop so we had the limo drop us off at Chevy’s for Happy Hour! We weren’t entirely sure how we’d get home but once Margaritas were mentioned, there was no turning back. Just thinking about it makes me laugh, taking the limo to Chevy’s, haha.

Someone told Chevy’s it was my birthday (which it wasn’t but technically we were using my 23rd birthday present) where they proceeded to sing happy birthday, throw a sombrero on me and literally from behind, pour a shot into my mouth. Considering I haven’t taken a shot since my junior year of college, I was just glad it didn’t come back up. Lol Rob looked as shocked as I was about that. But overall it was SUCH an amazing time and definitely my favorite 2nd 23rd birthday ever!! Thank you to my wonderful friends for coming and thanks Mom and Dad! 🙂

Wine Tasting Tip: If you’re going to be tasting for a few hours, bring FOOD. Our friends Jeremy and Casey were kind enough to bring salami and rolls and I packed some olive oil and bread. Saved our lives that day…

Did I mention Rob and I had a wedding to go to right after this? DEATH.

Have you gone wine tasting before? What is your favorite type of wine?

Happy Day before Friday!

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Simply Disney: Favorite Photos

Happy Hump Day!

So I’ve been sitting at my computer thinking about how I plan on writing this without seeming completely nuts. As most of you probably know, I looooooove Disneyland. And I know there are people who totally get the judging eyes on when I talk about how many times I go a year (as an adult) because everyone assumes its for kids or people with kids. I want to say I don’t care but honestly, it does make me really self conscious about talking about it. But at the end of the day, Disneyland is part of who I am so if you judge me for loving it, I guess technically I don’t want you reading anyways!

There are so many reasons why I love Disneyland but I think it’s difficult to explain. It’s more of a feeling than it is reason (other Disney enthusiasts will agree with me!). But I’m gonna to share my favorite artsy-fartsy pictures I’ve snapped at the parks and some of the reasons why I love it so much!

Beautiful Giant Castle. ‘Nuff said.

No matter where you are, there’s almost always a “view” at Disneyland.

I’m still crying a little about the California letters being gone but I love the retro feel to the new California Adventure.

I love the Pacific Wharf, mostly for the UH-mazing Margarita Stand and Karl Strauss Beer Truck but the new Ghiradelli doesn’t hurt either 😉 Did I mention there’s a Starbucks now too?!

No one can deny the detail Disney puts into small details of the park. This is a restroom area!

California Adventure’s Mickey wheel over Paradise Bay is something I could watch all day.

The line of Indiana Jones is usually horrendous. But the detail they put in the “waiting” areas especially of this ride, is undeniable.

Disneyland almost never has a bulb out. Considering the number of bulbs around the park…

You could walk by this pond all day without noticing anything spectacular. But at certain intervals at night, there’s a mini light show that happens prior to the fireworks. It’s such a trivial detail but it’s one of the ways that Disney always strives to make your money worth it.

I absolutely LOVE how Disneyland is different between night and day. Seeing the transition never ceases to amaze me.

All photos were taken by my iPhone 4s.

I’ve been going to Disneyland since I was little and the wonderful part is that the Disneyland Resort has almost grown up with me. They added California Adventure (a very adult friendly park), built more thrill-centric rides (not for the kids), and now they serve alcoholic beverages (all of these things happened in my lifetime!). Oh trust me, there are millions more reasons I call it my second home (holiday decorations, World of Color, food and drinks), but those are for future entries…

Have you ever been to Disneyland? What’s your favorite parts?

Do you have a place that you simply feel connected to?

Hope you make it over the HUMP okay!

Thankfulness Thursday: Family, Disney, Travel

Happy Thursday everyone!

So today is my Friday because I am OFF tomorrow! Woo hoo! I’m feeling so lucky lately that it felt like a good time to link up with Ashley for Thankfulness Thursdays.

The thing I’m most thankful for is the health of my family and friends. We can get so wrapped up in the long term picture (getting through school, paying off student loans, saving for a house, etc) that we forget what a blessing every day is. I found the Rockstar Ronan blog yesterday and I won’t lie, I cried. Bawled like a baby. If you have a some spare time and a few tissues, click away.

I’m thankful for the closeness of my family. My sister begged me for sister time so we went to get mani-pedis yesterday. Then my brother crawled into bed to watch TV with me before bed. They’re such a blessing to me.

My sister is a gangsta. And yes my dog is wearing a sweater.

I’m so thankful for the sweet comments on yesterday’s blog. I’ve got big dreams of starting up a party planning business someday and everyone’s comments meant a lot to me. Thank you. And yes, I’ll plan ALL your parties. Holler at me when I get going 😉

I’m thankful for my parents allowing me to live at home so that I can save for all the expenses of life. And it gives me the capabilities to take a few vacations (more on this later today…)

I love them!

Now a few “for fun” thank you’s:

I’m thankful that The Office at least gets a “farewell” season. Even if it makes me cry a little.

I miss you everyday Michael Scott. Source

I’m thankful for Starbucks having free wi-fi?!? When I worked at Starbucks 5 years ago, you totally had to pay. Also thankful for a Salted Caramel Mocha. YUM.

I’m thankful that the Backstreet Boys are back together and making a new CD!

Hallelujah! Source

I’m thankful for new fall TV like Go On and Guys with Kids. Hiiiiilarious.

I’m thankful that the Denver Broncos have my favorite quarterback ever. Peyton Manning and Denver was my NFL dream.

Source

I’m thankful that Rob and I have annual passes to Disneyland so we can go as often as my little Prius can take us.

Luuuuucy, you’ve got some ‘splainin to do…

Okay so I have to address the fact that Rob and I are always “going somewhere”. We are not loaded, nor are we big travelers (yet) and I don’t want everyone to think I’m a vacationing tool fool. So here are the facts:

1. I have a wonderful, well paying job working in the field with the major I graduated with. But at the end of the day, this position just isn’t what I want to do with my life. When you work a job that isn’t necessarily your passion, sometimes a weekend away isn’t just wanted, it’s needed. For my sanity. So more often then not, I’m begging Rob to venture into a different city for a day or two.

2. Along with the blessing that is my job, I’m given an extraordinary amount of vacation time that I’m forced to take. I know, pity me.

3. With my very first big girl paycheck, I bought a Prius for a steal. 2 years later, I swear that car has MADE me money, best car for travel ever! It was worth every penny (We can get to LA and back for roughly $70 in gas). I highly recommend the Prius, feel free to ask me any questions about it.

4. As AMAZING as my family is, I’m almost 24. Living at home. With a boyfriend of (almost) 7 years. Somedays, I just gotta get away for a day or two (and frankly, I’m sure they’re glad to have one less mouth to feed!).

5. For all you non-Californian readers, California is an AWESOME state (arguably the best one, duh). California is loaded with all different climates, cities, communities and frankly a ridiculous amount of beautiful places. One of the BEST parts of living in Sacramento is that nearly everything is only 2-3 hours away. 2 hours away from San Francisco, 2 hours away from Tahoe, 2.5 hours from Santa Cruz and only 1 hour away from Napa (wine country). City, snow, nature, beach, wine all in arms reach! Trust me, it’s a blessing and a curse. And LA is only a mere 6-7 hours away (an easy car ride for a Prius 😉 ). That gives us a LOT of places to go on the weekend.

Source

6. Lastly, check out the prices for a Disneyland Annual Pass. We got the Premiums. We need our money’s worth right? You freakin bet we do.

So I mean, all these trips I take, they’re my little sanity-savers. And it’s easy, cheap(ish) and do-able since we are still without children. Still hate me and all my travels? Move to California, get a Prius and be my best friend so we can take trips together (seriously though, do it)!

Okay, now that I’ve explained myself (and our incessant travels), can we be friends again?

((Sidenote, all my sarcasm is out of love, if I were you guys, I TOO would wonder how in the world I get to “vacation” so often. No hard feelings, I LOVE YOU!)

On that note, we miiiiiiight driving to LA tonight. Plans are tentative but there is a 90% chance Rob and I will be reunited with our home away from home! (Disneyland meet up anyone?! 😉 ). Do you hate me again? Darn it.

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram to travel with me!

HAPPY WEEKEND everyone!

Simply Traveling: Santa Monica

Happy Thursday everyone!

I could not be ANY happier with the ladies that linked up with Let’s Get Physical yesterday! Check them out here because they’re all amazing (I promise) ! If you weren’t able to join us for September, feel free to join us for the next link up on October 10th.

On our recent trip down south, we stayed with a good friend of ours that lives in Brentwood, close to the Santa Monica pier. He was such a gracious host and he definitely made sure we had a great time. We ate A LOT… I’ll just let the picture speak for themselves.

Santa Monica Restaurants:

800 degrees – Like a Chipotle for pizza, you go down a line and create your own. AMAZING. Highly recommend the pesto sauce!

Diddy Riese -Cheapest ice cream cookie sandwich ever!

The Misfit – AMAZING Ahi Tuna and the best sea salt chocolate chip cookie I’ve ever had. They also do an endless mimosa brunch I’m definitely returning for!

Although I wish maybe I would’ve thrown in a morning jog or two, I don’t regret any of the deliciousness posted above! Food is a big part of my life and I won’t apologize for that. But I can only eat like that on vacations, eating such AMAZING food daily would not only hurt my fitness journey but my Rob’s wallet too, eek!

I have NEVER had an Ahi Tuna Burger and I think my life was changed FOR-EH-VER. Do you have any recommendations of places where you love their ahi tuna burger??

In between all the food might’ve been a drink or two too. Let’s just say 32 oz Cabo Cantina Margarita vs. Evani: Margarita-1 Evani-0. (32 oz is A LOT people. Trust me on this. Haha)

What are your favorite spots in Santa Monica? Have you ever been? If you haven’t, I highly recommend it!

I can’t believe it’s almost Friday, YAY!

Summertime Fun: California State Fair

Happy Hump Day!

Is anyone else a little sad that summer seems to be coming to a close? Although I’ve been ready for more temperate weather, I can’t help but mourn the end of sunsets at 9:00 pm. I mean, I could come home from work and have hours to bake or craft before shooting pictures during the magic hour. Le sigh.

Nothing says summer like a good fair, especially the California State Fair! You can’t walk 2 feet without running into deep-fried something or chocolate covered yumminess. Don’t you fear, I took one for the team and ate my weight in heart-stopping batter.
The deep fried peanut butter cups were a tiny slice of heaven. Pair that with a cold Blue Moon and you have paradise! The best part of the State Fair besides the food was the hypnotist, Suzy Haner. Her show was hilarious and her performance alone was worth the admission to the fair. The California State Fair is a summer must-do for northern Californians!

Have you ever seen a hypnotist show? Were you as impressed/entertained as I was?

What deep fried foods do you like/hate?

Hope your hump is short today! 😉