A Weekend in Napa & Sonoma

Hi everyone! I hope you are having a great day and an awesome start to your week, so far. Mondays can be intimidating sometimes, but I hope you can find some things to make you smile and enjoy today.

This blog post is the second part recap of my recent trip to California. If you didn’t read the last post, I went to California for a long weekend with my cousin, Grace. We spent a day or so in the LA/San Francisco area and then rented a car to spend two days in the Napa/Sonoma area.

Napa, California


After the “workday,” we were so lucky to have a private tour of The French Laundry‘s kitchen in Yountville, CA–which isn’t too far from Napa. The French Laundry is a Thomas Keller restaurant and he is a big name in the culinary world, and also in the gluten-free culinary world. Thomas Keller was the first to create a “cup-for-cup” gluten-free flour and many other brands later followed suit. My cousin had some connections to the restaurant and so we were both a little giddy when we heard we could take a tour. Below are some photos from around the kitchen, wine cellar, and private dining room–how gorgeous!

The French Laundry 6640 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599

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After the tour, we walked down the street to another Thomas Keller restaurant, Ad Hoc, and had dinner there.

Ad Hoc 6476 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599

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Ad Hoc was such a fun treat because it was a five-course meal served family-style. The menu changes every day and the staff is very educated about/conscious of dietary needs/restrictions. Since my cousin and I have to eat gluten-free, we asked about substations for a few things on the menu and the waiter immediately told us how our meal would be modified for a gluten-free diet. I managed to get photo of the salad and dessert, and forgot the other three courses because we were too busy eating. The starter was a warm potato salad and–OMG–Grace and I have been talking about that salad for a week. IT. WAS. AMAZING. We finished off dinner with a lemon custard that was also so delicious!

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A favorite quote:
-“It’s lemon so it should be a light dessert.” 
-“I’m more concerned about the cream base that’s mixed in with the lemon.”

After dinner, we went back to where we were staying and prepared to spend the next day in Sonoma.

Sonoma, California


 

Sunflower Cafe 421 1st St W, Sonoma, CA 95476

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The next morning, we slept in late and then went to get some brunch at the Sunflower Cafe. I got some coffee and an eggs benedict-ish dish on gluten-free bread. This meal was definitely a little heavy, considering how much I ate the night before, but it was still good.

After brunch we walked around Sonoma with our to-go coffees and went to the original Williams-Sonoma store. The decor inside was so clean, classic, and super inspirational for future decorating.

Williams-Sonoma 605 Broadway, Sonoma, CA 95476

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After walking around some more, we went back to our lodging and rested for a while before going to a wine tasting later that day. Traveling around California in such a short amount of time made us tired, haha!

Benzinger Family Winery 1883 London Ranch Rd, Glen Ellen, CA 95442

Our wine tasting was at the Benzinger Winery because they also offer a tour of the property and a little bit of education. Our tour was $30 each and I think that’s such a good price for what the tour was and the scenery! The weather was perfect that afternoon and it was so peaceful.

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After the wine tasting, we went to have a light dinner before going back to our lodging for an early night. We were going to be traveling home the next day and wanted to make sure we got all the rest we could before another busy work week.

The Girl & The Fig 110 W Spain St, Sonoma, CA 95476

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We ate so much good food on this trip! California is definitely the place to go if you are a foodie. We went to The Girl & The Fig and split a cheese and charcuterie board and it was so yummy! They also have gluten-free crackers that they brought with our food, instead of the bread that was on the menu.

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The next morning we packed up and headed back to San Francisco to catch our flights home. On the way out of Sonoma, we stopped at The Fremont Diner for breakfast.

The Fremont Diner 2698 Fremont Dr, Sonoma, CA 95476

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I ordered some bacon, eggs, and avocado and it was a great last meal in California! This cafe was so cute inside too and they served coffee out of teal thermos (Thermoses? Thermosi?).

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Our trip to California was so relaxing, even though it was a busy weekend, and I’m really thankful for the time I had with my cousin to enjoy traveling and to catch up on life. Love you Grace–thanks for asking me to go with you!

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26 Hours in LA & San Fran

This weekend I took a few days off and went to California with my cousin, Grace. She had some work that she needed to tend to in LA, San Francisco, and Napa and asked if I would be her traveling buddy for the weekend. Of course, I said “yes! Totally! Count me in!” before I even worked out the logistics on my part, haha! I posted a lot of photos on my Instagram (@lovefromamyblog) of our weekend but I’m going to break down the trip into two blog posts. It was a whirlwind weekend but it had just the right amount of work, rest, quality time, good food, and coffee. Keep on reading below if you want to know what we did in LA and San Francisco!

Los Angeles, California


Grace and I were on separate flights into LAX but I met up with her once we landed. She went on to take care of some work things and I headed to the hotel with our luggage. We both got into LA early in the morning so I wasn’t able to check into our hotel until later that afternoon. I walked around West Hollywood for a little while and enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine. I met up with Grace a little later in the afternoon and we went to get some lunch.

Real Food Daily WeHo 414 N La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

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This restaurant had such a good variety of fresh, real food and was pretty much organic/vegan. We split a salad, avocado toast (because LA), and a gluten-free lemon cupcake and it was so good that I forgot to take photos. There were also so many gluten-free options, which is always so helpful when you’re traveling to new places.

After lunch, I went with Grace on some work-related errands. I love interior design so much and LA is such a great place to get inspiration and observe urban-style.

 

 

Alfred Tea Room 705 N Alfred St, Los Angeles, CA 90069

After running errands, we were starting to feel the day catch up with us and needed a snack. We went to Alfred Team Room for a bubble tea and ordered a chai tea with oat milk. If you ever wanted to try all forms of “milk” imaginable–go to LA. Plus, the inside of the cafe is Millennial Pink–so cute and so LA.

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A favorite quote: “I’m gonna be that person that if you didn’t take a picture of it, it didn’t happen.”

 

Jinpachi 8711 California State Route 2, West Hollywood, CA 90069

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After we checked-in to our hotel, we went in search of dinner before we called it an early night. We went to Jinpachi and split a few orders of sushi and that totally hit the spot. The food was also so good that I, again, forgot to take photos.

We went back to the hotel after dinner and prepared to get up at 4am for our flight to San Francisco.

San Francisco, California


The next morning we flew to San Francisco for a few hours and then we were going to drive to Napa for the rest of the weekend. The architecture and scenery of San Francisco is incredible and I love how no house is the same. One of my favorite movies is What’s Up Doc?and the movie also takes place in San Francisco. I kept internally chuckling to myself because there is a scene when characters are flying down the streets in their bikes/cars/ice cream carts and it was just pretty hilarious. I highly recommend you watch that movie!

As Quoted 3613 Sacramento St, San Francisco, CA 94118

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We stopped at As Quoted for some breakfast and coffee before we headed to Napa. As Quoted has a large variety of gluten-free options and I ended up ordering avocado on toast again and an almond milk latte. So good! The gluten-free bread was also made by the cafe and it definitely passed the test of “eatable” gfree bread! 049e2264-35e9-40ce-bb68-e0eacc44d740

On our way out of town, we passed the Golden Gate Bridge and stopped to take a few photos. The weather was chilly and gloomy but I had never seen the bridge and was glad to get a photo. So cool!

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Our next stop–Napa and Sonoma! Coming in another blog post soon!

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Packing for a Long Weekend in One Bag

It’s September–my favorite month of the year!! Today in Oklahoma it is absolutely beautiful and that makes me so happy. I hope you are enjoying the first day of a new month and that you have a wonderful, long Labor Day weekend! A lot of people choose to travel when there are long weekends and I am no exception. I am leaving town to go see some family, who I haven’t seen in years, and I’m looking forward to spending some time with them. Also, because of the specific airline I needed to use to get to my destination, I am only allowed to take one bag, period, on my flight. When I found out that information my first thought was, “challenge accepted.” Today I am going to show you what kind of bag I am taking, how I got all the absolute necessities packed, what I am taking to wear on this trip, and what I decided to leave behind.

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I’m really excited to break in this bag and use it on this trip! I found this canvas duffel bag on Amazon and decided it was a good investment for me because of how much I travel and because some of my other luggage was work out. I like the canvas material, the black detail, and the leather straps. You can also get this bag in other colors, I’ll link it here. This bag is the perfect size for this trip because it does fit everything that I need.

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Sometimes I will use packing cubes to help compact items and I think I found these on GroopDealz a while back. For this trip, I used a small packing cube for my swimsuit, socks, compact raincoat, and a few other things.

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As far as getting everything in, I tried a few different methods to see which worked best. I folded clothes, tried another packing cube, and then found out that it was better to roll all of my shirts and lightweight items. Because my pants are thicker material, I just folded them and set them on top of the smaller packing cube.

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Because I do have limited space, I tried to make everything smaller and only take what I absolutely needed. I am taking a clutch purse that I can easily grab out of the main bag and one that holds the basics (i.e. passport, cash, mints, sunglasses, ear buds, pen, chapstick, protein bar, phone).

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Toiletries are something that I can over-pack because I’m always afraid of forgetting something. However, since I am going to see family members, I skipped all of the shower things like shampoo, conditioner, etc., because I know they will share.

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These shoes have been trusty sidekicks for months now (my Chacos have even lasted me 12 years) and they’re coming with me. These leather sandals and my Chacos are super comfortable and are versatile for wearing with different things. I am wearing a pair of sneakers to the airport and also because they are more bulky than my sandals.

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Makeup is also another thing that I can over-pack but I’m keeping it super simple this time and taking mostly travel-sized, basic products.

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Packing clothes has become so much easier than recent years for a couple of reasons. Number one is because all of my clothing is pretty much neutral and number two is because I actually really like and love wearing the clothes that I have. Aside from the clothes I’ll be wearing at the airport, I’m taking a pair of denim shorts and a pair of black linen pants–both of those can be worn with any of the tops I take. I’m taking a set of pajamas and a shorts for swimming and/or hiking. I’m taking two flannel shirts and a cardigan that can be layered and worn depending on what the weather will be like. All of the t-shirts below can also be worn with anything else that I pack. Making clothing versatile is something that helps to make the packing/traveling process so much easier, at least for me, because you really don’t have to think that much about what you’re going to wear.

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The things that I am leaving behind this trip are my Polaroid camera, extra toiletries, larger medicine bottles, and my regular laptop case. I always take my Polaroid camera with me to document trips but I decided to leave it this time for the sake of space and the fact that I will have my phone with me. The extra toiletries I just didn’t need this time and if I do–I can always go get some or ask a family member if I can use theirs. I put a few medications into a Dramamine tube, put it in the side of my purse, and it didn’t take up any room at all. I took my laptop out of its regular case and put it into a drawstring back that I can wedge in between my rolled clothes.

Ok, so that is how packing went this time! I hope that, if you are traveling this weekend, you have a wonderful time and that these tips have been helpful. What are your plans for Labor Day?

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