Friday Favorites - July 7th 2017

This has been an odd week for all of us I'm sure. I had Monday off from work but still went into the office, of course I had Tuesday off, and then a three day work week with essentially two Monday's and two Friday's...and two Sunday's?  Now I'm confusing myself.  But, I think you catch my drift.  Happy Friday however which way you want to look at it!  

I am overwhelmed with desire to take some time off for myself to focus on packing and transitioning to my new place.  In between I very well may not have much time to cook and write and focus on my Bible study, but who knows. God has given me the grace to get everything done in the past so I will leave it up to His will.  In the mean time I am going to share a quick post about my trip to Napa two weekends ago as my Friday Favorites this week, linking up with Andrea

Aside from the amazing company of some of my closest friends, great laughs, and plenty of shenanigans, we also visited 14 vineyards while there (or was it 13??).  I'll reference my favorites with photos below and exclude mentioning the ones I didn't think too much about.

In no particular order:

Favorite #1

San Francisco.  I love this city.  It's beautiful and hilly and coastal, yet its rough bay inhabited by tons of marine life scares me to no end.  I have a fear of deep water where my feet would just dangle there with animals larger than me lurking beneath to snatch my feet.  Eek!  But, let's put that aside for now.  The cooler temperatures and unpredictable fog captivate me. Plus, I have so many fond memories from visiting the city. Fresh seafood, visiting friends, and biking along the coast - over the Golden Gate Bridge - and down the steep decent into Sausalito ranks as my favorite memories of the city.  If you've never been then I encourage you to go and explore!  

Similar or precise items in my outfit: necklace / white jeans / black tank / fedora / sandals

Favorite #2

Napa day 1 - we stopped for lunch at OSO in Sonoma and then headed to Ledson and Peju wineries.  Both places had great wines and beautiful landscape perfect for pictures.  



Later we checked in to our B&B in downtown Napa and went to dinner at Tarla Mediterranean Grill with excellent food where our final friend joined us as she made it to town.  And then there were six (of us).

Favorite #3

Napa day 2 - the six of us ventured to 4 vineyards throughout the day, stopping for lunch at the Oxbow Market, and finished the day with happy hour wine at our B&B (because we needed more wine) before heading to dinner to meet up with four more of our friends who came to town from LA for Saturday's tours. 

We started the day at Shafer which has always been one of my faves since tasting wine there three years ago.  Three years ago we met John Shafer and this time we met Doug Shafer. Gracious owners, fantastic wine, hefty pours, and beautiful vineyard views. 



At Shafer with Doug Shafer

Next we headed to Altamura out in the boonies but this made for some fun road trip memories. The wine was delicious so it remains on my fave list. 




Then we headed to Jarvis for their cave tour & tasting and you guessed it...great wine!


Similar or precise items in my outfit: black dress / similar dresssandals / fedora

We ate dinner at Ristorante Allegria with the whole group (10 of us in total by this point) and had an early birthday celebration for one of our friends whose birthday is in July.  As we walked the few blocks back to our B&B we accidentally stumbled upon a restaurant turned dance club (?) to which me doing a little jig in the street to make my friends laugh landed us all agreeing to go dance.  We found a secluded area outside perfect for people watching but age-appropriately situated away from the crowds and danced with just us girls. Those are fun memories. Even if I was wearing a "blanket" as one of my dear friends so affectionately called my shawl.  ;)

Favorite #4

Napa day 3 - This was the most intense day with 5 tastings and one "let's kill time in between with a patio and bottle of wine" stop.  Thankfully with so many of us it made sense to have a limo bus so we could truly imbibe without a concern other than hydrating with water in between.  The wineries that I really liked most that day were:

Chandon - because starting the day with a glass of champagne is always in order. Always. 


Inglenook surprised me as not only a stunning vineyard labeled as one of the oldest wineries in Napa (5th oldest, I believe?), interesting multicultural history (says the one who rarely pays attention during tours), and excellent wine. 





We stopped for lunch at Cindy's Backstreet Cafe, then another winery tasting, and on to Freemark Abbey. While I wasn't super thrilled by the level of effort our "guide"/"host" put into our tasting I was definitely excited about their wine.  Mark this one down as a must.  We didn't tour around their land so I can't speak on whether it was pretty or not behind the building itself.  And in fact by this point we weren't taking too many pictures either.  Let's just say our minds were focused on the wine.

After this we stopped for wine on a patio before heading to Ehler's Estate for a wine dinner.  I've been there before and yes, the wine is divine.  The dinner itself was set up beautifully and the sunset hit so many shades of bright orange and pink that I ended up taking at least 100 pictures of my friend sitting next to me because I couldn't get enough. (Sorry JMo!) 

We managed to find room for a little more bubbly on our limo bus ride home as we had a dance party to Whitney Houston, because yes, it's our jam.  Oh yeah, and Despacito. ;)

Similar or precise items in my outfit: maxi dress / sandals / similar bracelet

Favorite #5

Napa day 4 - this day was intentionally left a little unplanned because one of our friends flew out that afternoon but we had ideas of places to work in to our day as it unfolded.  However, it started with a scheduled tour of my now absolute favorite vineyard, Amizetta. It was a perilous drive out there along small winding roads into the mountain but once the treacherous trek ended (praise God), we not only needed some wine, but were blown away by the beauty, views, and wine at this vineyard. They stole my heart.  



It was their family home turned into a vineyard, ran by two brothers, overlooking the vines, mountains, and lake.  It's chic and industrial all in one.  Did I mention the wine touched my heart?  It's a little slice of heaven right there. 

Afterwards we headed to lunch with a view at Auberge du Soleil and then over to Stag's Leap to taste on a beautiful patio with very interesting wines because of how their vines grow on either side of a hill/mountain and which side gets more water. 


After Stag's Leap, we popped into an olive oil farm at Round Pound, briefly stopped at Caymus for a tasting, then headed to our scheduled wine train dinner.  I was admittedly very excited to travel by train and we opted for only the dinner because of our schedule.  I think the train tour with vineyard stops would have been better for us since we've all been to Napa multiple times before but schedule didn't permit for that.  The dinner was good and took us past a lot of vineyards from Napa out to Saint Helena and back.  For a Napa newbie this would be a great way to see vineyards that you may or may not plan to go to. 

Needless to say after these four days we were exhausted, ready to pack up, and get to bed!

Similar or precise items in my outfit: blouse / white jeans / similar sandal / similar fedora / similar bracelet

How was your July 4th, Independence Day holiday and weekend(s)?  Go anywhere fabulous?  You can view my previous Friday Favorites here, and in case you want to find anything specific on my blog site then click here for help navigating around my site.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Friday and great weekend!  Also - a very Happy Birthday to my beautiful and amazing Mammaw!!!  Today she is 92 years young.  Our family, as well as everyone who has ever met her, has been utmost blessed to experience her love.  We celebrated her birthday a week early, last week, with 40 family members in Tennessee.  Those who do not live there all traveled for the celebration.  I've never hash-tagged the word blessed before - but this would be the time to. #blessed

Lastly, don't forget to subscribe below if you haven't already so you do not miss out on any future posts!



What's Up Wednesday: May 2016

It's happening y'all.  Summer is here.  May is gone.  We're only 25 days away from celebrating the 6 month countdown to CHRISTMAS. read that correctly.  I am already excited about Christmas.  If I wasn't planning to move soon I would seriously be regretting taking down my Christmas tree, and I can honestly proclaim that I live with no regrets so the idea that I am borderline regretting taking down my Christmas tree is a major thing. ;)  That's how fast this year is moving!

Today I am linking up with Shay and Sheaffer to share what I've been up to this past month.  I am grateful for this post so that I myself might also know what I've been doing to make the time fly by.

What I'm eating this week:

I think I've never noticed that the question is for "this week".  Oops!  This week I am eating lobster, crab, scallops, fish, etc.  I have been on the north east coast and definitely took advantage of the fresh seafood!  The rest of this week I will likely resume eating my general Whole 30 and Paleo type of food although I am considering a different approach to incorporate dairy and eliminate fruit for a few weeks, sort of like low carb.  I only have three weeks until Napa and it will be difficult not to eat cheese while wine tasting.   Plus, I think it's time to shock my body with something different after almost 8 full months of Whole 30 eating.  Oh, and I wil no doubt seek out my beloved Tex-Mex.  Even the shortest of trips can make me miss Mexican food!

On Monday I will resume sharing recipes and have a Vegan (Whole 30, Paleo) minestrone soup to share!

What I'm reminiscing about:

Honestly, I'd have to say the month of April and May.  What happened?  Where did it go?  I have to look back through my calendar to remember everything I did.  I'm also reminiscing about trips I took in May in former years.  Both Shutterfly and Facebook remind me now of "on this day" type of stuff.  In the few previous Mays from 2013-2016 I visited Cancun, Napa, Spain, France, Galveston, Fredericksburg, and New Braunsfels, TX.  It's amazing how life changes so much year to year and I can't even remember where I was the years before that!  I think I need to make a list of places I've traveled to.

What I'm loving:

Southwest Airlines.  First of all, this airline flies out of Houston's smaller (and closer to me) airport, allows two free checked bags, and allows you to cancel/change your flights without a fee.  Those right there are something to love.  The prices can be comparable to some of the United Airlines flights, but Southwest does actually have amazing sales that pop up whereas United rarely has a true sale (for places I look to fly to).  However, what I am loving about Southwest this month in addition to these things is that they recently reached out to me from a Twitter post I shared that I didn't even mention them in and gave me reward miles...for doing nothing.  

How cool is that?!?!  I have all of 20-ish followers and thus my new "Twitter" account isn't the most active account (and likely never will be), but somehow Southwest airlines found that post and gifted me miles!   

So, in return I thought I should give Southwest a little shout out in a Twitter post on the 22nd and sure enough they responded to that "Tweet" too and sent me free wi-fi codes to use in flight!  I'm diggin' the love.  

Quite frankly I don't care if they're the only ones to "like" my "Tweet", it makes me feel special. =)

What I've been up to:

I visited with Cyndi when she came to town and when I went out to east Texas to visit with her, her hubby, and my three (of five) God children that I failed to get pictures with on this trip.  The yellow missile looking picture is from the road trip out to east Texas.


I got to enjoy my friends for Cinco de Mayo festivities.  Hello guacamole and margaritas!


I enjoyed dinner and Casting Crowns with my dear friend, Elizabeth one weekend and another weekend enjoyed visiting with @missy_nessa95 at Carrie Ann's Mother's Day celebration.

In between these things I visited with family, dealt with a health issue and hid a bit, had dinner with other friends, traveled to east Texas as mentioned above and to Boston & Cape Cod.  It's been a fruitful month!

What I'm dreading:

Nothing except the inevitable Houston heat and humidity.

What I'm working on:

Myself!  As always... I'm also working on the blog by slowly getting back in to the marketing course I set aside last fall.  I have one of two options - follow the course and pray that my blog improves as well as grows, OR I put it on hold for a while so I can just focus on life that is happening so rapidly I can barely keep up.  All good things.  I couldn't feel more blessed to be this "busy"/fruitful and trust that the things I agree to do are for God's glory in some form or else He would prompt me to stay home and be silent. =)))

What I'm excited about:

The month of June!  I have been slowly getting rid of furniture and things so I can begin moving over the next couple of months.  I am beyond ready for the next chapter that God is preparing me for.  I am excited about the friend's I'll get to see (finally), the down time I am blocking off in my calendar, and for my upcoming trips this month!  I'm also looking forward to starting a Beth Moore bible study called "Entrusted".

What I'm watching/reading:

I suspect you all know the answer to these so I'll keep it quick: 

Watching - reruns if I turn on the TV at all, although I rarely sit down to actually watch it.

Reading - The One Year Bible and a PDF called Every Good Marriage Begins with a Funeral that I received from Gary Thomas, author of one of my favorite books Sacred Marriage, for signing up on his street team a while back to pre-read Cherish before it was released.

In the last month we have covered: Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, finished Luke, and are currently reading 2 Samuel, John, Psalm, Proverbs.  In case you're not familiar, the One Year Bible allots about 15 minutes a day for readings split between the old and new testament with Psalm and Proverbs every day as well.  I absolutely love it!

Treadmill reading - I finished Attached - and goodness it is so interesting.  It was my second time reading it and it's enlightening to see which attachment style you fit into as well as recognizing where you were in other relationships and how it can affect your relationships.

I also breezed through A Nantucket Christmas for the 2nd time just for fun, and am now reading An Island Christmas for the 2nd time.  Reasons: they're light and easy reads, I love Christmas any time of year, and I had the trip planned to Cape Cod and had hopes to make it over to Nantucket but ran out of time.  I plan to read more of Nancy Thayer's books I think.  Easy to let your mind go.  Those two are filled with Christmas imagery so much that I had a very detailed dream about Christmas decor one evening and struggled to refrain from listening to Christmas music the next day. =)

I decided to put away Life After the Storm that I mentioned in last month's What's Up Wednesday because I just couldn't relate to it right now.  There is great information in there about grieving all kinds of losses but ultimately I missed the boat on reading that late last year/early this year when it would have been more applicable and helpful in my situation.  If you or anyone you know if going through a loss of some kind, then I would recommend checking it out.  It serves a purpose in the right moment.

My goal is to read the 21 Day Financial Fast beginning June 1st (tomorrow!) but I know I won't be able to fully abide by the no eating out rule.  I will curtail shopping though and know I need NOTHING for my two trips in June.  Mind over lustful online sales and shopping.  EEEEK!

What I'm listening to:

Spotify's Praise & Worship playlist.  It is soooo good!  And of course my favorite band, Hillsong United, is in that playlist.  I don't know if the link will work that I inserted but it's worth a shot.

I'm also still listening to my podcasts: Hope City, Breakaway Ministries, Joyce Meyer, Bayou City Fellowship, and Marriage Today.

What I'm wearing:

I'm surprised that this section feels difficult, but this month has been a blur.  I had to look back through pictures to see what I wore!  And that's even with the 2+ weeks of canceling most of my plans because I wasn't feeling well.  Y'all, I have got to slow down!  

I wore things like this MinkPink dress and ADA belt that I bought at Carrie Ann's.  You can stop by her beautiful boutique to take a look or click on the picture if you'd like to purchase it online.

I've worn my black 1822 Denim Butter jeans a dozen times because they feel like pajamas.

I sported this Free People Alana sweater in beige and red from Macy's for 40% off or something like that and love it!  (I'm using stock photos because I'm having to create this post prior to my long weekend and get back late on Tuesday and thus will not be able to add in real pics of me in my new duds).

I picked up the following shoes for my trip to Boston/Cape Cod because we planned to do a lot of walking:

Puma Vikky suede sneakers: like velvet cushions on my feet.

Converse Chuck Taylor Allstar Shoreline in charcoal: comfortable alternative to the boat shoes I love and wanted but would have torn up my heel.  These Chucks stayed put because of the elastic heel and were comfortable.

What I'm doing this weekend:

I had to look at my calendar again!  Gosh, which way am I going?  This weekend I am having a low key Friday night, taking a freebie dance/work out class Saturday morning, having dinner with a bestie Saturday night, and visiting with my girl friends by the pool on Sunday. =)))  I refuse to add more to that list other than church and sleep.

What I'm looking forward to next month:

Visiting with my friends and seeing my family, a cool inauguration of a USS ship in Galveston, celebrating one of my five God children's birthdays, my trip to Napa and to Knoxville where I will see all my family to celebrate my Mammaw's 92nd birthday!  I'll also get to hold and smooch on my four perfect & beautiful nieces!  Give them to me.  Give them all to me.  Tia Becca needs muchos besitos!!!!!

What else is new:

I think I've summed it all up for now. 

How was your month of May?  Anything fun and exciting to share that you did, ate, or traveled to?  Are you excited for the summer to kick off?  Comment below!

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