wine tasting in santa ynez.

winetasting25 winetasting13 winetasting6 winetasting3 winetasting4 winetasting2 winetasting18 winetasting11 winetasting19 winetasting20 winetasting22winetasting7 *i’m discovering so many photos still inside my cam so bear with me as i share the rest of my california travels!

for my brother-in-law’s birthday, our whole family took a little trip up to santa ynez (a little ways above santa barbara) to go wine tasting!  we got a late start so we only went to one winery, but it was a good one.  we had a tasting at sunstone and the property is so gorgeous…it kinda feels like you are in tuscany.  i am the farthest thing from a wino (i was hoping italy would have refined me in that area), but per the fam’s reviews and multiple bottles that were purchased, i think the wine was pretty good.  on the way home, we got dinner in montecito at my favorite santa barbara italian restaurant via vai trattoria!  thin crust margherita pizza.  do it do it do it.  such a fun day with my favorite people in my favorite state!

road trip to big sur | part II.

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we rented a cabin for a good deal on flipkey and [besides us not knowing where the heater was and almost freezing that night] it was so fun to stay all together in a private cabin!  we had a deck with a view, a fireplace, and a hot tub.  the only downside of our stay was having to get out of the hot tub to make the four foot sprint to the house in 20* weather.  we ate at cafe kevah for breakfast and i highly, highly recommend this place!!  gorgeous, insane views, delicious food, and the BEST MOCHA ONE WILL EVER DRINK.  it only has outdoor seating so it can be a bit frigid, but just layer up and you should be justtt fine.  my brother brought along his go-pro camera for the trip so i’m hoping to make a little video of our adventures.  one day.  after i finish that whole branding thing i’m working on for my biz.

on our drive back down to southern california, reis and i stopped at sand dollar beach and hiked along the bluffs down to the ocean.  yet ANOTHER ridiculously beautiful place!  minimal amounts of people around, firing waves, and just being in awe of God’s creation made for an amazing end to our short trip.  we had the best time exploring the coast with my brother and sis-in-law and are really hoping to make this trip an annual thing.

california recap.

california will forever hold a special place in my heart.  i love the weather, i love the people, i love shopping at trader joe’s & anthropologie, and i love all of the unique cities and places that are only a drive away.  it’s especially amazing during the holidays because 1) i love my family’s christmas traditions and 2) all of my friends that i’ve grown up with since kindergarten are back in town.  reis and i stayed pretty busy the whole time we were there and enjoyed a couple of road trips up and down the state.

carecap2carecap3[the annual christmas party with my high school girlfriends – guaranteed to be a night of non-stop laughing, lots of dessert, and a hilarious white elephant exchange.]

carecap1[our sweet niece’s first christmas.  we are so obsessed with this little moose!]

carecap4[my good friend ann-marie got engaged and asked me to be in her wedding!  i am so excited!]

carecap7carecap5[a road trip with my brother and sister-in-law to big sur]

carecap9carecap8[coffee dating with my gorgeous + amazing friend jill]

carecap10carecap11[another road trip…this time to san francisco –> i love this city!]

2012 was really, really good to us.

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2012 was nothing short of blessed (and busy!) for our family.  i got engaged and found out i was going to be an aunt (on the same day!), my brother got married to the sweetest sister-in-law anyone could ask for, we planned our dream wedding, i made several 36 hour trips to LA to do wedding stuff, we met our adorable niece for the first time and fell in love instantly, i quit my job, changed my career path, and went freelance, i married my best friend, we had an incredible honeymoon exploring italy together, and for the past few weeks have been enjoying california with my family and friends for christmas and new year’s!

we are tremendously thankful for a god who abundantly loves, blesses, and provides for us and we are so excited to see what 2013 has in store.  happy new year to you!

an unforgettable bridal shower.

there are really no adequate words to describe the unbelievably AMAZING bridal shower my sister, sister-in-law, and two best friends threw for me a few weekends ago in california.  like, seriously.  just look at these photos!  what!?!  i still look through them and am just amazed by every single detail and beauty of it all AND the fact that they did it all for me!  i am blessed beyond measure, that is for sure.  they all know how much i love little details so they went over-the-top in every. single. aspect of the night with intricacies that i appreciated more than they will ever know.  when i first walked out into the yard, i’m pretty sure my jaw just about hit the floor.  i was seriously in awe at everything in front of my eyes that i immediately ran back inside to grab my camera because light was escaping us and the beautifulness NEEDED to be captured on my camera before it was too dark.

the table settings were impeccable and glamourous (so in love with the green bottles/vases and black & white striped runners).  the gorgeous market lights were strung just for my shower by heather’s dad!  the escort table (yes, they had an escort table!) had custom designed name tags for every guest.  the appetizers and dinner (mostly made by the talented janelle) were insanely delicious.  the food presentation was incredibly detailed (how cute are those little glittery pom poms?!).  they had an italian soda bar, a bellini bar (complete with black & white striped straws), a candy station (with a ridiculously cute backdrop that heather made!), AND a dessert bar (with hundreds of homemade goodies & an ombre cake)!  they had customized mint favors at every place setting, beautiful and classy balloons (of which the hanging garlands were slaved over by my sister for 3 days!), matching sugar paper napkins, customized labels for every dish/drink/dessert (taylor did ALL of the design for the night and i loved that it was all cohesive from the invitation to the signage to the name tags!)…i really could go on and on and on about everything.  it was a truly unforgettable night and i am forever grateful to my hostesses (and everyone else who helped!) for going to great lengths in planning this event and for making me feel so special in this exciting time of my life!  love you guys SO. MUCH.

for more deets on this “bridal shower of a century” as my good friend ann-marie has coined the event (and quite accurately so!),  janelle’s recap is  here and you can also check out ann-marie’s post here — she helped set up and took a ton of beautiful photos!

1st photo by my sis, photos 3&4 by ann-marie

my newest obsession.

this past weekend, reis and i flew to LA for a super quick trip with the main reason being to meet our precious new niece, ryan nicole.  she was born two weeks ago and i have been dying to snuggle those cheeks since the minute she was born.  i am overwhelmed with the amount of love i have for her and i never knew i could feel this way about anyone!  i wouldn’t necessarily say i’m a “baby person” and never really understood how people could just stare at babies for hours.  oooh ohhh NOW i get it.  i literally could just watch her for the whole day and be perfectly content.  i already miss her like crazy and can’t wait until i get to see her again in just a few weeks!  for now, i just demand my sister and brother-in-law send me a daily pic (or 2 or 3 or 4) to get my ryry fill for the day.

the rest of our weekend was filled to the max and we were incredibly productive doing wedding stuff (more pics of the weekend to come soon)!  it was way too short like always, but so special and fun to be with my entire family for the first time since ryan was born.