Monday, July 29, 2013

Napa Trip: Part 3

After the wedding, Mike and I headed off to Sonoma with his parents, sister and frenchies. We had a fun and relaxing two days together. It started out with a fun breakfast at the Fremont Diner where we met up with Mike's uncles and other family members who live in the area. It was my first time meeting some of them (after 11 years!) so it was really nice. Then we went wine tasting at Benzinger vineyards and Chateau Saint Jean, relaxed at the pool and had a lovely dinner. 

 Chateau Saint Jean
 Mike's parents at their favorite winery Chateau St. Jean

The next morning we had an awesome breakfast (and a perfect cappuccino) at the Sunflower Cafe and visited the delicious Vella cheese store where I happily bought some cheese and butter to take home with us (its amazing!). 

 Benzinger vineyards

The trip was perfect and I can't wait to go back and spend some more time up in California wine country. We headed to the airport and then continued to wait 5 hours at the airport since we were delayed 3 hours on the way home. Clearly, Frontier did not want to make it easy on us this trip.

Either way, still worth the 5 hours of total flight delays. Have you ever been to Sonoma or Napa? What are your experiences and recommendations?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Napa: Part 2

Michael is the first friend of ours to take the plunge into married life. Michael (we call him Fowle) and Mike have been best friends since freshman year of high school. Its crazy to see how we have all grown up since then. It was a wonderful day celebrating Michael and Danielle's wedding. They met back in college at the University of Arizona and are just an absolute perfect couple. To see such an amazing couple get married was such a privilege.

It started at the rehearsal dinner the night before. We went to Brix restaurant which not only had amazing food and wine but a view to die for. Backing up right against a gorgeous vineyard, it was perfect. We had a great time with all their friends and family and watching an awesome slideshow of the bride and groom throughout the years. A little surprise, Captain Sully and his wife were at the same restaurant that night and came in to say hi and give a toast. Exciting!

the bride and groom!

The wedding ceremony was so beautiful. A grand church filled with so much love. They vowed to love and take care of each other forever and we have no doubt that they will. The reception was just as great as everything else had been. At a gorgeous winery in Saint Helena where we ate amazing food, drank even better wines and danced like fools.

The wedding was perfect and went off without a hitch. I am so happy I got to share this weekend with them and wish them years of wonder, love and adventure.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Trip to Napa: Part 1

Last weekend Mike and I jetted off to SFO for an amazing weekend filled with friends, family, and a wedding between two incredible friends of ours. We did SO much in the five days we were there so I am going to break it down into a few separate posts. 

The trip started out at 4 am. Waking up before the sun to head to the airport to catch our 8 am flight to San Fran. Big surprise, we were delayed two hours so naturally we headed to the airport bar for breakfast.

We landed in SFO and headed up to meet Mike's sister who works in the city. While she finished her work day we galavanted around San Fran for a few hours. First stop...Tartine Bakery.

I had been looking forward to visiting Tartine for what seems like...ever. I was so excited but to be honest, I was pretty underwhelmed when we arrived. Yes, everything was good but it was not as great I expected. The rude girl who helped us didn't add to the experience. I will say that we did not get to try the bread (we were too early, it comes out at 4:30pm) so that might be their saving grace. Nevertheless, I was glad we went.

After that we headed to the pier building to check out the shops and walk along the water. It was beautiful and I definitely wish we had more time in the city. Some other time...

We headed to Mountain View to Mike's sister Kris and her boyfriend Mike's home where we were happily reunited with these little French faces. Shuug and Penny! 

We got to see the cute little town they live in and have dinner in their downtown. In the morning Mike and I went on a bike ride to check out the Google Campus and then we headed up to Napa.

We had an amazing lunch at Tra Vinge where they had house pulled mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes to die for. Then we had a really interesting tour at the Raymond vineyard. They are complete biodynamic and self sustainable. It was so interesting and beautiful, plus the wines were fabulous. I highly recommend checking them out if you are in the area.

After that, it was wedding time!

Friday, July 19, 2013

help them rebuild!

Hi everyone!

This is Laura.

I am calling in a favor. Laura is a close friend of mine from college and sorority and her and her boyfriend just endured the devastating flood in Calgary, Canada. They are safe but they lost they apartment and everything their owned in the flood.

They are handling it with such patience and grace but it breaks my heart that they have to deal with all of this.  They have set up a website to help raise some money to help them get back on their feet. Any and all donations are welcome, anything helps! I know Laura and Chad are going to make it through this and come out a stronger couple for it.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and help out these inspiring people.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

the life of Tay

Have you missed this little face? I know I did!

I was so worried that Taylor wouldn't recognize me when I got back from Paris. I mean, a whole year without seeing her I didn't know what to expect but I was so happily surprised when she immediately jumped into my arms at the airport. It was the best!

Needless to say, I love hanging with my little girl again. She is as cute as ever and loving all the outdoors here in Colorado. She is a hiking champion. Seriously, puts Mike and I to shame with her skills. Jumping rock to rock, racing up the trails and looking back at us like... "Come on guys!"

I love her little face!

 yes, that is an "I <3 Paris" sweatshirt. its awesome.

What is your little pup up to this summer? Being cute as ever, I'm sure.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

À tout à l'heure

Mike and I are headed up to Napa Valley tomorrow for a weekend celebrating our friend's wedding! We can't wait to see these two amazing people commit their lives to each other. Mike is a groomsmen (best friends since high school!), we will be wine tasting, seeing friends and family and of course visiting some awesome bakeries (for me!). We will be back next week.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Pear. Walnut. Almond. Tart.

Tarts are such an easy and awesome dessert. They are definitely my go to when I just want to throw something together. I love the classic combination of baked fruits and almond cream and pears are a great choice. My other favorites are grapes, apricots and peaches!

This is a perfect snack for a hot summers day. Its light, fresh, easy to share and I'm pretty sure it wants to be friends with a nice cold glass of white wine. mmm.

Pâte Sucré
250g flour
100g butter (room temperature)
100g icing sugar
1 egg
20g water

sift the flour.
cream the butter and icing sugar together.
add the egg. mix until smooth and homogeneous.
add the sifted flour.
if using a mixer, beat until the dough comes together.
if using your hands, use your hands or a scrapper to "frasage" the dough. basically, take a handful of dough and press it into the table while sliding your hand or scrapper so the dough smears. once all the dough has been frasaged, gather it. wrap in plastic and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Creme d'amande

250g butter (softened)
250g sugar
250g almond powder
200g eggs
50g flour
40g rum (optional)
5g vanilla extract

cream the sugar and butter together.
add the almond powder and cream together.
add the eggs, one by one.
beat the mixture to "blanch" it. (make it white in color)
add sifted flour, mix.
add rum and vanilla. mix to combine.
cover and fridge.
walnuts, chopped and lightly toastedpears, halved and sliced
roll out your pate sucree, poke the dough to make holes for steam while it bakes. line your tart ring or pan with the dough and  pread walnuts in the bottom of the shell. Pipe almond cream on top of walnuts and then press the sliced pears into the cream. Bake at 350 until golden brown and the almond cream is golden and springs back when touched.

Let cool and enjoy!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The view from the top

Of the Eiffel Tower is breathtaking. Can you believe that it was in my FINAL week of living in Paris that I finally made my way to the top of Eiffel? Talk about procrastination. 

My friend Danielle and I had such a great time in our last weeks. We made a point of doing as many of the things that we never got around to doing throughout the year like going to the Army Museum, one more shopping trip to Oshyo, going to the top and just walking the streets together. It was an awesome way to conclude an incredible year.
We waited and waited and waited some more until we finally got to step onto the lift that took us up. We had both been up to the 1st and 2nd level of Eiffel but this was the first view from the very top and it was perfect. 

Paris is hands down the most beautiful city you will ever see. From the ground to the air there is beauty all around you. The buildings, the streets, the sky, the people, the parks...its simply perfect.
I miss my beloved Paris and my amazing friends so much. I am really grateful that we made the effort to take the trip to the top.