Friday, May 27, 2016


A couple of weeks ago, we continued our exploration of Northern California coastal vacation spots with a trip to Mendocino. We both have never been to Mendocino before and after an amazing weekend trip, we can't wait to go back.  Mendocino is a small coastal town about 3.5 hours away from the Bay Area and San Francisco. Definitely a fantastic destination for a weekend getaway.

Where We Stayed in Mendocino:

We stayed at the gorgeous and fairytale like Blue Door Inn; a cute little white cottage house surrounded by pretty flowers and with views of the ocean. The Blue Door Group has three bed and breakfast houses within walking distance from each other. We were placed in the JD House on the second floor with a large outdoor deck & views of the water, a wood burning fireplace, a large bathtub and a living room seating area. The room was beyond perfect!

(We loved sitting on the deck overlooking the ocean while enjoying some great champagne. I mean, it is vacation right!?)

What We Explored in Mendocino:

We spent a couple of hours just walking around the cute little coastal town of Mendocino. From all the colorful houses and shops, to eating our hearts out at all the local organic spots, this town may be little, but full of so much charm.

Point Cabrillo Light Station: About a 10-15 minute drive from Mendocino is the cutest little lighthouse with amazing views of the ocean. We enjoyed the 20 minute hike to the light station where we explored the grounds and watched seals play in the water. Relaxing and gorgeous!

Glass Beach: About a 20 minute drive from Mendocino up in Fort Bragg is the infamous Glass Beach. In the early 1900s, everything from old cars to cans were tossed over the cliffs and into the ocean. Now at Glass Beach, you can find that the ocean has changed all the glass and trash into smooth, beautiful colored treasures. I could have stayed here for hours shifting through all the glass pieces to find the most colorful and prettiest ones. Definitely a great place to take kids.

Where We Ate & Drank in Mendocino:

Goldeneye Winery: We stopped here on our drive up to Mendocino because we had heard great things about this wineries Pinot Noir.  Remember my Napa post here where I talked about visiting Duckhorn Vineyards? Well this is one of their sister wineries so we knew we would love it! Beautiful grounds and yes, the Pinots were fantastic. 

Flow Restaurant: We ate dinner here the first night and LOVED it. Not only is the restaurant on the second floor so you have amazing views of the ocean, but the food is local, organic and fresh. Everything we ate here was delicious, but the brussel sprouts were my favorite!

Patterson's Pub: We didn't eat here, but did pop in for a late night drink. This place was packed with tons of people eating, (we heard the fish and chips were the talk of the town) drinking and watching sports. Classic pub but definitely a staple in this little town. We also stopped in on Saturday to watch and bid on the Kentucky Derby. Such a fun atmosphere with all the locals!

Trillium Cafe: To this day, this might be one of my favorite meals we've ever had while traveling. Such a charming little spot with some absolutely delicious food! A cozy atmosphere with a fabulous and extensive wine list. Most of the food on the menu is also organic and so fresh. We shared the Grilled Organic Pork Chop and the Grilled Organic Chicken Breast, both amazing! If you visit Mendocino, you MUST eat here for dinner.

(How cute is our breakfast at our B&B?! We were both so surprised by the widespread breakfast options offered to us each morning. Not to mention when you woke up it smelled like bacon and eggs. AMAZE.) 

GoodLife Cafe and Bakery: If this bakery were anywhere close to my house, I would be here weekly. Oh SO good! Tons of vegan & gluten free options, organic everything and amazing coffee. When the gluten free mac and cheese tastes NOT gluten free, you know you've found a winner spot.

Boonville General Store: Though not in Mendocino, Boonville is a great stop on the way back to the Bay Area. We stopped and had sandwiches at the Boonville General Store that were fresh, homemade and super tasty. (There are also a couple of spots to wine taste in this area if you like Pinots.)

Cowlick's Ice Cream: Oh man is this place good! Located in Fort Bragg (great place to stop after visiting Glass Beach), Cowlick's homemade ice cream store is a MUST. Such a cute spot with plenty of ice cream flavors and clearly a popular spot with lines out the door at times. 

Lichen Estate Winery : We stopped here on our way home (close to Boonville) thanks to a recommendation from friends. (Follow them on Instagram @pickie_foodie ) And man are we so glad we did! Some DELICIOUS Pinots and overall such a wonderful tasting experience. We will definitely be back here.

Another memorable coastal trip for the books. We will most definitely be making Mendocino a regular on our travel list. Not only is the food SO good, but the quietness of the beach town is just what you need to relax for the weekend. Now for Bryan's take on the trip!

His Take:

Mendocino is absolutely worth the trip.  Incredible views, nice people, very good food. 

My top 3:

1) The Views: Ash and I stayed at the Blue Door Inn.  If you did nothing else on your trip but sit on your patio and stare at the ocean - you'd be fine. The whole place looks like a postcard.  One of the best ocean/coastal views I've ever seen.  Champagne was also a nice add here.  Wine hour with other B&B guests was really fun too. 

2) Patterson's Pub.  Ok, so this is the total opposite of #1. After a 'difficult' day of sitting on your patio and hiking the dramatic Mendocino cliffs with views of the Pacific...  It's a pub - with no windows, TV's, along with sort of the "typical" pub crowd/food/d├ęcor.  And it's awesome!  We happened to get there on Kentucky Derby weekend, so it was packed which was really fun.  They had a great selection of local craft brews.  Most of which under $5. 

3) Flow.  Cool restaurant with a front row seat to the 'Pacific Ocean Show'.  We shared a few different things that were all really good.  They have beers from Lagunitas and Bear Republic among others.  They've also got a great local wine list.  California IPA and Anderson Valley Pinot? Sign us up!

I'd highly recommend Mendocino to anyone.  It's a "chill" trip.  Not recommended for those who need a high level of activity or solid cell phone connection.  Prices were reasonable everywhere we went and the food was very good.  Go check it out!


Monday, May 23, 2016

The Perfect Sunless Tan

We are in that awkward phase of seasons where it's getting warm enough to wear shorts and dresses, but not warm enough to lay out by a pool and get a nice tan. And we all know that there is nothing worse than getting in a cute summer style dress with pale legs. (Well, there are worse things, but pale legs aren't fun). Being a nurse, I'm always super conscious of wearing sunscreen and tanning beds are a HUGE no no in my book. So of course I've tried endless amounts of sunless tanner which has resulted in many terrible streaky moments. I can finally say that I feel like I've perfected the art of self-tanning with a lot of practice, patience and the right staple products. 

I first start by using Trader Joe's Lavender Salt Scrub in the shower or tub. I've used this scrub for years and I feel like for $6.99 you get an amazing exfoliater and moisturizer all in one.  Plus, it smells incredible. 

After drying off, I take the St. Tropez Applicator Mitt and put 2-3 pumps of St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse on it and go to town. I do one leg at a time, then each arm and so on, adding more mousse to the mitt if needed. The key to even application is to constantly keep blending with the mitt in circular motions all over. Even if you can't see any lines, keep blending for about 5 seconds after you feel its evenly distributed. This tanning mousse and the applicator mitt have been a game changer for me. It's a pretty expensive product, but will last you a long time and gives you such a natural looking tan. WORTH EVERY PENNY.

After applying the tanning mousse where I want it, I let it dry for about 30 minutes. Try avoid putting on any tight clothing as it can cause streaking. To keep my tan lasting for days after application, I make sure I moisturize daily to keep it looking fresh. I love this lotion from Beautycounter as it is free from harmful ingredients, smells amazing and leaves the skin feeling moisturized yet not oily. 

The tan will last for about 5-7 days, giving you a glow like you've just came back from Mexico. I mean, who doesn't want that!? Have a great week!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Coastal Style

Who doesn't love the coast?! Gorgeous blue water, cliff side views and that cool ocean breeze. A couple of weekends ago, we headed up to Mendocino (blog post coming soon!) where I chose a Panama hat, and a simple striped tee with a boyfriend cardigan for wandering around the coastal town. It was the perfect outfit AND oh so easy! It wasn't hot enough to wear a dress and not cool enough for a big jacket, so a simple boyfriend cardigan with a tee was the best choice. 

If there is one thing I always pack when I'm going on vacation, it's a hat. Hats are always great to have when you really don't feel like doing your hair one day, but still want to look cute and put together. How perfect is this one from Madewell? It just screams vacation style! (And it's on sale right now!)

Bucket bags are in this season and I'm loving it! They are perfect for traveling, hold just the right amount of necessities and come in the cutest colors and styles. I love the idea of having a bucket bag in a bold color or pattern to add a fun flare to any outfit.  

Striped Pocket Tee | Jeans | Hat | Sweater last season Forever 21 - similar here & here | Sandals | Disc Necklace | Sahara Pendant Necklace | Watch | Ring | Beaded Wrap Bracelet | Earrings | Bucket bag last season Ann Taylor - similar herehere and here | Sunglasses

Friday, May 13, 2016

A Day in Napa

Oh Napa. One of my absolute favorite places on the planet earth.
A couple of weeks ago, Bryan and I headed up to explore some new spots in the Napa Valley. Since we live so close (about 45 minutes away), we visit about once a month, exploring new wineries and restaurants.  We try to stop at a new spot each time we visit but we still have some of our favorite things to do each time we go there. In this post, I'll share details of our day trip and at the end I'll list other wineries and restaurants we've been to and loved. Hoping this blog post helps some of you easily plan a future visit to Napa because it's a MUST.

We started our day at the adorable Fremont Diner, which is technically in Sonoma but not too far off the road on your way to Napa. This place is full of so much charm and color, it's an Instagrammers dream come true. Not only that, the food is DELISH. We ordered the sausage biscuit, deviled eggs, cheddar jalapeno cornbread and french press coffee (which came in a super fun camping thermos!) The outside seating was wonderful and very kid friendly with areas for your kids to play while you ate. Everything was SO good but that biscuit was my favorite!

After that amazing breakfast, we headed to our first tasting at Duckhorn Winery. This tasting room is in a charming house with a wrap-around porch planted right in the middle of the vineyards. Pretty perfect. This tasting experience was one of our favorites yet, as we loved the wine and the atmosphere. You taste at your own private table overlooking the vineyards. It doesn't get much better than that.  (tastings are $30 a person) 

After Duckhorn, we headed to Mumm Napa to taste some bubbles. This is one of our favorite stops in Napa and one of our favorite places to bring friends. They have a large outdoor patio, overlooking wine country and the champagne is SO good. (tastings are $18 a person)
We also love Chandon & Domaine Carneros for bubble tastings. Tasting at Domaine Carneros is basically like tasting at a beautiful french chateau. Just gorgeous and right on the way back from the Fremont Diner.

Next up, FOOD. Sometimes we picnic, sometimes we eat at a fun restaurant. This day we decided to picnic because the weather was absolutely gorgeous. We love getting sandwiches from Dean & Deluca, an amazing fine food grocery store. They have sandwiches, cheese boards, meats, you name it. The perfect place to pick up picnic essentials. We also like picnicing across the street at V. Sattui Winery. They have a deli inside their winery and picnic tables outside under shaded trees. Another great option for a picnic lunch or a wine tasting. (tastings are $15 a person)

Our last tasting spot of the day was Paraduxx, one of Duckhorn's sister wineries. They have a similar atmosphere with a house-like tasting room, but with a much roomier outdoor area. We did our tasting outside while relaxing in some adirondack chairs. Paraduxx is known more for their red blends, while Duckhorn is known more for their Merlots & Bordeaux wine varietals. Another great option for tasting when the weather is beautiful.

As I said before, you could go to Napa everyday for a month and still do and see something different every time. When planning our trips there, I like to look at a map of the wineries/restaurants and plan our day from there. I usually like using a map like the one below.

Wineries with a View:
Sterling Vineyards - Not known for their amazing wine, but for their amazing view of the Napa Valley. You can take a gondola ride up to the winery where you taste. It's a fun experience, especially for someone who hasn't been to Napa. (tastings & gondola ride are $29 a person)

Castello di Amorosa - This is one of the main tourist attraction wineries in Napa. You can take guided tours or tour the castle yourself while tasting their wine. It's a beautiful location and great for first timers. (tastings & self guided tour is $25 a person)

Cuvaison - I love this winery for it's outdoor view! They have tables outside overlooking a vast amount of vines and it's just so relaxing. (tastings are $25 a person - need a reservation)

Brian Arden Winery - This is a new find for us and we are loving it. Such a beautiful winery with great people pouring. You will even be greeted by the family dogs when you arrive. Tip: Sit's relaxing and beautiful. (tastings are $20 a person - reservation encouraged)

Artesa - We love this place for their delicious pinot and their art-like vibe. Up on a hill, this winery gives you great views and also has a fun little shop inside to buy wine goodies. (tastings are $25 a person) 

Other Great Wineries:
Rombauer - We've been here MANY times but still to this day it's one of our favorite spots. Delicious jammy Zins and buttery Chardonnays. Also a beautiful garden to explore! (tastings are $20 a person - reservation required) 

Peju - A gorgeous winery with great wine! The bendy trees at the entrance are so fun! Very close to the Dean & Deluca market.  (tastings are $30 a person - no reservation needed) 

Raymond Vineyards - Want a fun and quirky winery to taste at? This is your spot! Tons of "different" rooms that resemble the game Clue. (tastings are $25 a person - reservation encouraged) 

Turnbull Cellars - Beautiful location! Bocce ball courts and a gorgeous wooden barn. You can even purchase cheese & meat trays to go with you wine for an extra cost.  (tastings are $30 a person - no reservation needed)

Spots to Grab a Bite:
Mustards Grill - This place is to die for! Great for lunch or dinner but the best thing we've ever had there?! THE PORKCHOP. (so dang good!)

Gott's Roadside - If you want burgers for lunch, go here. Great outdoor seating and burgers that will make your mouth drool. SO good.

Rutherford Grill - We've been here a couple of times and it's still one of those places where we've never been served anything that wasn't amazing. Promise me one thing though....if you go, you HAVE to get the Iron Skillet Cornbread. Hands down the best start to your meal. (Tip: If there is a long wait for a table, walk across the street to Elizabeth Spencer and taste outside on their charming patio. Great way to pass the time.)

Boon Fly Cafe - A cute little spot with delicious lunch and dinner. Make sure you don't leave without getting the Boon Fly Donuts with the chocolate dipping sauce for dessert. (I mean come on, you only live once!)

Bouchon Bakery - We love stopping here either on the way into Napa or on our way home to grab a coffee and a sweet treat. Amazing pastries and macaroons! Tip: There is always a line outside but it's totally worth the wait. If you don't have time to wait, right across the street from Bouchon is Java Hut Too which has delicious coffee as well.

No matter where you go in Napa, you won't be disappointed. Now don't you want to go plan your Napa weekend getaway?!
Happy weekend!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Floral Jumpsuit

Whoever created the concept and style of jumpsuits and rompers, I want to HUG them. They are SO comfortable YET give off a very stylish put together look with just one piece of clothing. Simple, easy to wear but still so darn cute. You can dress them up with heels or down with flats and sandals. They are perfect for traveling - one outfit, one piece, lighter luggage. (Who am I kidding? I always over pack anyways.)

When I found this 70s style jumpsuit from Old Navy last week, I hesitated because it's a different cut and pattern than I'm use to wearing. But when I tried it on, I knew I had to have it! So flattering, comfy and perfect for Spring. 
(Note: This jumpsuit currently sold out online yesterday - a bloggers worst nightmare -  but is still available in stores. Trust me, I called around for you. I also linked similar style jumpsuits at the end of this post.) 

This saddle tote has been on repeat for me with the Spring-like weather we've been having. I love the saddle color with the white cotton canvas and find that it matches with just about anything. I especially love wearing anything navy while carrying this tote. It's a great color combo. 

I own SO many pairs of sunglasses. But these leopard style sunnies are in my current top 5 at the moment. I love the flair and fun that they add to my outfits! Oh, and they are $12!

Similar Jumpsuits - here | here | here | here