Weekend Trip: Napa Valley and Marin, California

When it comes to weekends, I’m either stressed to the max with papers or exams that are coming up. Those days are usually spent half procrastinating (because what kind of college student would I be if I didn’t procrastinate) and half actually getting my work done. Man alive, I was pumped when a long weekend came up at the end of midterms that let me get on a plane headed to California without a stitch of schoolwork in my bag. Sunshine was the only thing on my mind – well that and the fact that I’d probably return to Seattle with a bit of a sunburn. I landed after an hour delay on the runway and was welcomed by huge smiles on the faces of my mom and grandparents as they sneakily surprised me!

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A traffic-filled drive back through downtown Sacramento was accompanied by a phone interview for one of the summer internships I’ve applied for – crossing my fingers that summer plans will be full of excitement and adventure, because I’m too addicted to travel after my time in London. Finally home, the squealing duo of Ella and Lady (my two pups) attacked me and got me in the right mood for a fun weekend home. After an obligatory Mexican food dinner, I ran off for a fun evening of shenanigans with my Sacramento girls (Joce, Courtney and Cat) – nights with those girls end up in stitches of laughter and too many smiles that your cheeks hurt the next day.

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Valentine’s morning woke me up with some dogs barking, so I was off to go on a walk with my mom before we headed out for a Napa weekend. I don’t think there is anything better than a weekend spent in the place that brings you the most joy – Napa is just that for me. I’ve basically been raised up there … riding the ATV’s through the meadows and jumping on the trampoline until the sun goes down. Now that I’m a bit older, getting a few days up there a year is the best form of relaxation (and soon I’ll be able to enjoy Napa’s wine reputation – yay birthdays!)! The night couldn’t have worked out better… we headed down to Main Street to see if there was any wait at our favorite restaurant, Cook, and were delightfully surprised that they could fit us in for a quick dinner despite having a full night of reservations! Yippee!! That creamy parmesan polenta and brown butter brussel sprouts are perhaps some of the best bites I’ve had.

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I’ve got to say – waking up to a breathtaking view of Napa Valley and the sunshine already warming up your skin might just be the best way to start a day. The sunburn I was anticipating was already starting to form (thank you Seattle clouds). We grabbed a tasty veggie bagel at Model Bakery before we ventured into my mom’s hometown of Novato. The best pit stop was at the Marin French Cheese Company – brie and sweet pepper jam tasters paired with sunshine and the dogs being able to get out for a little walk. Is there anything better?

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On our way back home, we took the back roads through Lucas Valley and were absolutely stunned by the amount of twists and turns the road had. The two lane highway made it all worth it when we came across a random redwood forest that spanned the length of the road until we got onto 101. If there’s any reason to live on the West Coast, you’ve got to visit the Bay Area during those ‘winter’ months. Highs of 75 degrees Fahrenheit and endless sunshine – what is winter again? The 18 years I lived in California growing up has clearly affected me more than I thought – true winters will probably be the end of me if I ever end up on the East Coast.

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Being back in Sacramento for a short while before I boarded my plane back to my home away from home in Seattle lifted my spirits enough to get me through the next few weeks of research papers and finals. Only one month until birthday celebrations (yay, finally 21!) and spring break! I had a hard goodbye to my little valley town with the sun glowing a bright pink and orange on our way to the airport, but the amazing welcome back party that picked me up at the airport was enough to bring a smile back to my face. Thanks for the spirit lifting Tay, Julia and Emily – couldn’t be happier to have you as a part of my college family.

IMG_5914What spring adventures are you hoping for? How are you surviving your winter? Get talking in the comments below!

Until next time, catch me on instagram.

Snapshots: January

Oops, I did it again. Keeping up a blog when I’m bogged down with school work galore really is a challenge. One of my resolutions this year was to make the dreams that I have a reality.  Currently, I’m trying to figure out minors and internships, that will make those dreams of travel and fulfilled wanderlust more attainable in the upcoming months, so please excuse my absence from writing all the little things I’ve been doing.  A little recap of life in the Pacific Northwest: we’ve had some rain (and by some, I mean most days), trekked out of Seattle to see a waterfall with a friend, my mom visited for the weekend and finally I’ve been hit hard with the flu in the last week. So life has been going on, but there’s been very little time for an update. Instead of writing a day to day recap, here’s a few snapshots of life for the time I’ve been gone.

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A wintery Saturday morning drive to Snoqualmie Falls, expecting a hike and finding this view only a 5 minute walk from the parking lot.

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Stunning sights of Seattle’s harbor from the Great Wheel – never thought I’d get my mom up on a ferris wheel on her own will!

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All smiles when my mom comes to visit this rainy city.

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Downtown Seattle at dusk, getting ready to shine during the night.

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A beautiful sunset to end the weekend with my mom, found at Kerry Park in Queen Anne.

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Photos of the three roommates usually end up like this amongst the giggling and falling.

IMG_5005Another amazing Seattle sunset on campus, keeping my California spirits happy.

Writing is very cathartic for me, so these little entries give me time to reflect on all that is good in my life and knock me out of whatever funk I’ve gotten myself into.  Hopefully I’ll have a little bit more of a schedule with updating, but in the mean time, I hope that everyone’s Februarys are happy and healthy!

Until next time, catch me on instagram.