Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Winter Break

Working full time has made me appreciate holidays and time off more than I ever thought possible. My company is AMAZING and gives us 5 full days off over the holidays, so I've been back in PV spending time with family and friends. Q1 is going to be a hectic quarter at work, so I've been trying to use these past couple days to actively relax in order to maximize my time off. I usually walk back into the office grateful for the break but realizing I didn't really do anything or really even relish in the holiday while it was happening.

And as contradictory as it sounds, making myself do relaxing activities has been actually a million times more wonderful. So wonderful, in fact, that I thought I would blog about it: a day in the life of a girl who's having her first vacation that's longer than a 3 day weekend in 6 months. Maybe not the most exciting topic, but I have a feeling I'm going to look longingly back at this blog post in the upcoming weeks.

9:15 am. Wake up! I'm sharing a room with Johnny, and we both sleep in more than the rest of the family. It still feels earlier than I want, but there is no alarm waking me up and I can roll around in bed for 15 minutes before deciding that I want breakfast. I grab cereal and a yogurt, and my Mom offers to make James and I eggs since Jessica is off surfing and Johnny is off at brunch then a PT appointment.

10:30 I've been going for a hike almost every day of break (or a work out class thanks to the wonders of classpass), and today is no different! My Mom and I managed to convince James to come with us, so we head down to the Trump Golf Course to walk along the cliffs and down to Portugese Beach Club while talking about random things. I snap a few pictures as usual, before we head back up to the car to pick up Johnny from his appointment. 

1:00 We're all packed up in the car, and head over to our family friend's house. I had spent the previous day crafting with Sara and we both wanted to finish up our projects together. James joined us, and while I attempted to make art for my room that was simple enough for even me to not mess up, he actually painted. His paintings were amazing and I'm happy to say the pop art version of Abalone Cove is for me! Mwahaha. I'm still proud of myself for not ruining my projects, but we know who the artist is in the family. To keep us entertained, we also had How To Get Away with Murder going on in the background (now hooked) and ate Mac n Cheese while not trying to spill in the paint.

4:00pm Sara drives us to our house and we swap out James for my Mom. It's $5 movie ticket Tuesday at Regal, and we went to see Wild in theaters. I had read the book a few months ago and loved it, but didn't totally get in to the movie. I think the problem with long journeys alone is that no matter how great the acting is there's only so much dialogue you can say out loud.

 6:20 Back home to find my friend Brigitte got to my house earlier than I expected. We caught up and talked, then headed over to my grandma's house to jacuzzi. It was a shocking 48 degrees outside which made it even more fun to run out to the jacuzzi and stay in as long as possible.

9:00 Brigette unfortunately had work the next morning and couldn't stay with me forever like I wanted, so I hop on the couch and watch a few episodes of Parks and Rec with my parents. My Mom and I have been watching it almost every night since I've been home. I'm obsessed with the show so most of the time I wait for my favorite jokes and bug my Mom making sure she heard them and then making her tell me if she thought it was funny. My Dad usually resists, but this time I even caught him laughing at Ron Swanson. 

11:30 I'm not sure how it got this late, but I run into Jessica and James' room and tackle her. We spend the next hour in the bathroom with the heater on (warmest spot in the house plus has a mirror) talking about life decisions and watching Panda videos.

12:30 In bed and regretting my decision to take a 9:15 bar method class. I set my alarm for 8:15 even though I know I will snooze til 8:45 and fall asleep.

My normal lazy days consist of me watching Netflix around the house and aimlessly checking the fridge. While I did get in some solid days like that, I've realized that making an effort to unwind with family, friends, projects, and sunshine have been some of my favorite parts of break! Not to mention I will now be heading back to SF with 2 wall decorations that cost a total of $20 and a very personal touch :)

Friday, December 26, 2014

Gifts from Napa

The gifts have been unwrapped and the family is all cozied up together for the holiday season! After feeling particularly proud of my wrapping of my Mom's present-- wine from Napa in a branded box and fancy wrapping paper--I realized I never shared one of my favorite memories since my move up to the Bay Area.  I didn't go on too many big trips this year--though graduating, getting a job and apartment, moving to a new city, and family emergencies have been more than enough adventure for one year--but I did check another thing off my bucket list! With Scott's secret planning, he whisked me away for a quick trip north of the city to go wine tasting in Napa and explore Petaluma for an afternoon.

We drove up to the Castillo de Amorosa winery in Napa and after my giddy freak out, Scott and I parked the car and instantly set out exploring. The whole winery is built to look like an Italian castle, and the building materials actually came from Tuscany. Scott had signed us up for a tour, so we grabbed some pictures of the flowers, vineyards, views and sampled grape seed oil before meeting our enthusiastic tour guide.

After pointing out the careful details of the decoration and walking around the castle, our tour finally made our way down to the cellars and learned more about the wine we were going to taste. It was so fun seeing the rows and rows of barrels underground, and we made a stop to taste wine that was still fermenting.

Finally, it was time to actually wine taste! Scott splurged and bought us the better wine tasting package so we got to try a ton of different wines. The experience of being in a dimly lit wine cellar trying glasses of $80 bottles of wine in Napa was exhilarating and hilarious at the same time. Scott and I had fun acting fancier than we were while both admitting that at this point of in our lives wine tastes like wine. One exception was a dessert wine that tasted like "liquid gold," and I could have the whole bottle of sweet wine.

Scott and I got caught up in our wine tasting experience and totally got sucked into the gift shop allure. We got three bottles of a Pinot Grigio that we had liked and I threw in an adorable wood box with the winery logo stamped on. I've had two bottles and the box decorating my room for so long, it's nice that I could finally give the gifts away today for Christmas! And I even have to admit the cute box looks even better in my Mom's kitchen.

We ended our wine tasting trip back at the car, but not before sneaking a grape or two from the vine! 

The rest of the night was filled with lots and lots of sushi for dinner before checking into our hotel and watching some guilty pleasure reality TV. 

The next morning we started our drive back to SF with plans (by Scott) to stop in Petaluma for a fun lunch. We grabbed a patio seat at a restaurant right by the river that runs through the town. While eating we saw a little brewery across the water, and decided to check it out after we paid our check. Sitting on a patio now on the opposite side of the river, we tried a few beers including a sample of mead for the first time. 

We ended the weekend's little day trip by looking through a few of the many antique shops that lined the downtown street before stopping at a retro ice cream parlor for some sundaes.

Napa and Petaluma was a perfect mini trip and a fun part of exploring a new part of the Bay Area. It also makes me happy that I could turn an amazing weekend into a great story and gift for my Mom and grandparents during the holidays (especially if it means I get another glass)! Tis the season after all!