4 Days in Napa Valley

I am finally getting around to editing these photos after a few crazy weeks! I have a million photos I took from these few days we spent in Napa Valley with our families just to watch Zach and Kimmy RUN A MARATHON! While I was pretty bummed about not being able to complete the race myself due to an injury, I couldn’t have picked a better place to be injured.

Here are a few of my favorite photos from the trip!

2017-03-05 09.29.13Saturday was the day before the race, we had a day to ‘take it easy’, carbo load, yet still explore Napa Valley. After picking up our race packets in the morning, we took a drive to Russian River Brewing, a place that beer folks tell me is the ‘mecca of beer.’ The weather was miserable that day, so we were happy to spend inside eating pizza and getting a taste of their infamous Pliny the Elder.

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2017-03-04 14.22.37Sunday was RACE DAY! We got up early, carbo loaded, and headed to the starting line. It was cold and rainy,  and the nervousness of the runners was palpable. Even with a stress fracture in my foot, I managed to run a mile alongside my sister before I had to call my dad to pick me up on the side of the road. I was pretty disappointed for an hour or so about not being able to finish, but once we all set back out in our orange gear to find and cheer on Zach and Kimmy, I was too excited for them to be sad!

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Our Airbnb was smack dab in the middle of our own private vineyard

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I loved the wine-themed street names

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We may have quickly stopped at a winery while Kimmy and Zach were between miles 16 and 23 🙂

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2017-03-05 12.29.27They did it! Kimmy and Zach ran through sun, rain, hail, rain, sun, wind, and some more hail for 26.2 miles. They did such an incredible job and both had huge smiles on their faces afterward. After heading home for a bit, we enjoyed a lovely celebratory dinner at Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch (where I sadly forgot to take photos). After heading home for a few beers in the hot tub, it was early to bed.

2017-03-05 08.15.23Monday was our last full day in Napa,  so we set out exploring the variety of wineries Napa Valley has to offer. We started at Clos Pegase, which is known for their art, estate wines and “luxury hospitality”. Since Zach’s parents have been members for years, we were able to score a private wine tour of the property which included wine tasting in their caves!

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Looking great post-race!

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Afterward, we explored Dutch Henry Winery which was the smallest winery we visited, and reminded me of Austin with it’s chicken coop and picnic tables. After a delicious lunch at Gott’s Roadside (get the fries!!), we sipped on some bubbly at Domane Chandon and finished off the day at the best winery of the day: Artesa (great hosts, i n c r e d i b l e wines).

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Napa, we had a great time and will be back soon!



weekend in temecula [video]

i love revisiting past trips by looking through old photos, almost as much as i love taking and sharing them. my goal this year was to do a better job of organizing, editing, compiling and sharing the photos i’ve taken instead of having them sit in dropbox untouched. i’ve invested in technology and software (like this blog!) to help make that happen and it’s been great so far!

for some reason i’m not as dedicated to the little video clips i take along the way. i have a million tiny videos and my goal moving forward is to do a better job of compiling them into large videos…like this one! it’s my first try at editing a video so please excuse the quality 🙂



temecula, california – part 2 of 2

part 1 can be found here


on our drive back to la, we stopped at oak mountain winery  (which boastst ‘southern california’s only wine cave’) in temecula. having lived near virginia wineries for so long it always shocks me how beautiful california wineries are (virginia wineries, i’ll still always love you). we did a quick tasting, bought a few bottles and snacks and had a great afternoon.


it was definitely the perfect way to end a great weekend!







temecula, california – part 1 of 2


when my sister got home from work last friday, we told her she had ten minutes to pack a bag for the weekend. we gave her no other details about where we were going or what we were doing. she was excited but also nervous, and it was great for us to just to hear her try to figure out what was going on (her guesses ranged from a lumberjack competition to mexico to camping). our 2 hour drive to our destination trip was spent primarily giving kimmy false clues and her making wildly inaccurate guesses about where we were heading.

we finally arrived at our destination: a dark, quiet house with several cars parked out front. as soon as kimmy stepped out of the car, 10 of her friends and our brother popped up and shouted “surprised” from the roof. after giving hugs, we quickly poured some champagne, threw up a few decorations and spent the rest of the weekend drinking, enjoying our incredibly beautiful rented house, and most importantly — celebrating 30 years of kimmy.

this was the view from our backyard. since it was dark outside when we arrived on friday night, this was a pleasant surprise to wake up to on saturday morning!



the gang minus two



Continue reading “temecula, california – part 1 of 2”

half moon bay to monterey [pch trip part 2 of 5]

this 5 part series outlines a two-week road trip my brother, sister and i took down the pacific coast highway. on our trip, we started in napa, drove to the muir woods, spent a few days san francisco, drove from half moon bay to monterey, then big sur and finally ended in los angeles.


after san francisco, we did a lot of driving down the pacific coast highway from half moon bay to monterey. it was probably the longest leg of our trip, and what i remember most about this leg is lots of car snacks and driving music, overcast weather, incredible views over every bend, insane surfers fighting to the death to get their waves, and lots of laughs in the car.


we didn’t really have any specific places we wanted to checkout during this part of the drive, which made it extra special. we drove and stopped when we wanted and as we pleased. theres an element of this that i find relaxing — it’s the reason why i’ll always favor taking the long road in a car (when we can go at our own pace) over other transportation options.

Continue reading “half moon bay to monterey [pch trip part 2 of 5]”

big sur, ca [pch trip part 1 of 5]

this 5 part series outlines a two-week road trip my brother, sister and i took down the pacific coast highway. on our trip, we started in napa, drove to the muir woods, spent a few days san francisco, drove from half moon bay to monterey, then big sur and finally ended in los angeles.


a little while ago, my siblings and i took a road trip from napa to los angeles, driving down the PCH. these photos are from the last leg of our trip. we stayed with our aunt and uncle, two incredible humans who were renovating an insane probably gagillion dollar “glass house” in big sur. next time i’d love to stay (and eat) at the big sur lodge, or find a campground somewhere closeby.

must see and do and eat: julia pfeiffer burns state park for 3,000-foot ridges, mcway falls for the breathtaking 80-foot water fall pictured above, big sur bakery for snacks, bixby creek bridge, and the limekiln state park for an easy hike and the tallest trees of your life.

Continue reading “big sur, ca [pch trip part 1 of 5]”

san diego


by some miracle, i got one of the last flights out of dc this past weekend before the #snowicane2016 hit. i was visiting my brother, kevin, in san diego who moved to the west coast about a year ago. while i’ve been to california a number of times, this was my first time in san diego.  my sister and her bf, kimmy and chris, made the trek down from LA and the four of us spent the weekend exploring all that this wonderful city had to offer. it was so great to spend time with friends and family now living a coast away.



  • nicos: tiny mexican hole-in-the-wall in ocean beach, aptly voted the #2 california burrito in america. $6 will get you a incredibly delicious california burrito stuffed with carne asada and crunchy french fries, the size of your forearm.
  • neighborhood: american-style loungue/gastro pub in the downtown area with pimms cup cocktails on tap and incredible mussels. i later learned that there’s a hidden speakeasy in the back, so i guess this means i’ll be going back.
  • crushed: special little place in pacific beach serving brunch and beer. we were taken with the pretzel bread, cinnamon roll pancakes, and make-your-own mimosa flights with interesting flavors such as grapefruit rosemary. super nice servers, too.
  • mad beet: this place was a godsend the morning after two late nights in a row. they have made-to-order healthy fare such as acai bowls, smoothies and juices. the best part though is the  hilariously clever names of their products (i.e. “beyoncai”, “canteloupe fiasco” and “honeydewtang clan”).
  • baja beach cafe: we ate right next to the beach here in pacific beach with a+ views and decent fish tacos and bloody marys.

Continue reading “san diego”