tree farm 2018!


reindeer sweater  | hat  |  boots  | sweater onesie

Another year, another trip to Rancho Siempre Verde tree farm!  This was our third visit to RSV, and it never disappoints.  See past posts here(2017) and here(2016).  The weather wasn’t great, and the toddler and newborn presented new challenges; but we found our perfect tree and made some new memories.

That said, I learned some things and now have some tips for tree ranching with kids:


It was raining off and on, and mud was everywhere.  By the end of the visit our toddler wasn’t the only one looking a mess.  Take group pics when you arrive while you’re still looking somewhat fresh!



I really thought I was on the ball packing a change of shoes for Denton (19 mos) and myself.  What I failed to realize is that toddlers don’t stay on their feet.  By the time we left the farm, Denton was so soaked with mud that he rode home wearing nothing but a clean diaper and a blanket.


The hat was a happy accident for me.  It’s hard keeping your balance sliding around in mud while holding a newborn and chasing a toddler!  Add in the intermittent sun and misty rain and it’s a real challenge.  Having a hat to keep the sun, rain, and hair out of my face was YASSS!


We had planned to stop for a late lunch at one of our fave restaurants on our way back to the city.  However, by the time we left the farm, we were tired from toddler chasing and Denton had no clothes.  Next year we’ll pack a picnic so that we can sit and eat while the kids roll around in the mud.



I brought spare shoes, but no bags to put the muddy ones in– let alone Denton’s soaked clothes.  Oops.



Ever since Denton started trying to feed himself, I have had an OxiClean Gel Stick on the washer at the ready.  As soon as we got home from the farm, I used the oxiclean on his little jeans and they’re good as new.  It also works wonders on tomato sauce and chocolate.


Next year we’ll be more prepared!  And please let me know if you’ve got any pro-tips I’ve missed!





OOTD: denim dress

A couple years ago I picked up a chambray shirtdress on sale at Anthropologie and I have worn and loved it many times since.

Here I wore it to Tamber Bey Vineyards.  As an aside, if you’re looking for a beautiful winery in Calistoga (Napa), Tamber Bey has great wine, horses, and a spacious patio!


And here I wore it to Chateau Montelena Winery, another great winery in Calistoga (Napa).  Before visiting Chateau Montelena though, I highly recommend watching Bottle Shock – a comedy/drama that tells the story of Chateau Montelena and California wines.

Don’t yet have a denim dress, or feel like you’re ready for a new one?  There are so many options this season!  Here are jut a few —

Farryn Laced-Back Shirtdress |  Fringed Chambray Button Down  |  Luna Denim Shift

Open-Shoulder Chambray Shift  |  Open Sky Denim Dress  |  Ruffled Denim Shift Dress

DV Sam Bootie  |  Harrow Suede Bootie  |  Vince Camuto Bootie

Calhoun Cutout Bootie  |  Star Studded Bootie  |  Iris Fringe Bootie

And while we’re on the subject, who could forget the denim on denim sported by Britney and Justin at the AMAs over 15 years ago.  (Has it really been that long?!!)



tree farm

With Thanksgiving behind us, it’s time to decorate for Christmas!  First stop – find the perfect tree.  This year we made a day of it and drove down to Rancho Siempre Verde to choose and cut our tree.  Then before heading back we stopped at Pie Ranch for some festive provisions and topped the day off with a late lunch at Sam’s Chowderhouse.

If you live in or around the San Francisco Bay Area, I highly recommend this little day trip!  And if you’re not in the Bay Area, have a google and find a tree farm near you.  Get outdoors and smell the fresh pine!

Rancho Siempre Verde is about an hour drive south of San Francisco.  Having researched several tree farms online (here’s a good summary of local tree farms), I chose RSV because for what it lacked in kitsch it more than made up for in beautiful surroundings, tree swings, and marshmallow roasting.  And it didn’t hurt that there’s a pie shop right next door.

wearing: dasher top, ruche long sleeve tee, hat, scarf, hunter travel boots

There are several tree swings scattered around the property that are just as much fun for adults as they are for kids.  And if you don’t feel like cutting your own tree there’s a selection of pre-cut ones ready to go.

We opted to cut our own of course.  I gave sawing a go, but called in Pavel to finish the job.  Once cut you can either haul it yourself to the baling station, or have one of the workers give you a tractor pulled hay ride to pick it up and haul it back.  (TIP:  Trees look smaller out in the wild than they do in your house… found that out when we got home.)


There are also wreaths for sale, or you can opt to make your own!  Making a wreath from scratch was a first for me, and like it or not – I’m pretty proud of it!

There is an bonfire going for marshmallow roasting, and feel free to bring your own sausages to roast too!  And mind the sign warning that unattended children will be given an espresso an a puppy.

Next door to the tree farm is Pie Ranch where we picked up a fresh baked apple pie, an mini honey nut oat pie, and some shortbread cookes.  Hey, it’s the holidays!  They also have a variety of fresh produce, pickled vegetables, and preserves.

Sam’s Chowder House is one of our favorite spots.  It happened to be raining by the time we got there, but on fair weather days it’s nice to sit outside by one of the firepits and dine while overlooking the ocean.  And they have s’more kits if you feel like making your own dessert!

Though the rain kept us inside at Sam’s this trip, it gave us a beautiful rainbow on the drive home.


The scenic route.  All 3 of these places are located on Cabrillo Highway aka Highway 1 and the drive has some terrific views of the Pacific Ocean.  There are also tons of produce stands and wine tastings along the way – so take your time and make a day of it!

Happy Holidays!

april bucket list


I’m a superwoman in need of more happiness!  Because who doesn’t need more happiness?

Last month I attended the Professional Business Women of California Conference (PBWC) where I heard Dr. Jaime Kulaga give a talk titled The SuperWoman’s Guide to Super Fulfillment after her book of the same name.

One of the things Dr. Jaime talked about was proactively adding happiness to your life.  A tool she suggested for adding that happiness is a bucket list.  Not a bucket list with hugely grandiose items for some far off date in the future, but one that lists things that can be done NOW.

With April just kicking off, I decided to make a bucket list for the month and I challenge you to do the same!  Remember, this is not a to-do list of chores or things you’ve been meaning to get done (I had to keep reminding myself that), but a list of fun things that make you happy even just thinking about them.

April’s Bucket List

  1. Get coffee at Java Beach Café and walk along Ocean Beach. I love staring off into the ocean. It’s so relaxing.  I live just a couple miles from the water and yet I rarely go.  Where is a nearby place you love to go but haven’t been in a while?  Make it happen!

  2. See the Oscar de la Renta exhibit at the de Young museum.  If you are a Bank of America cardholder, take advantage of their Museums on Us program. The first weekend of every month you can get free admission by flashing your BofA card.  Find out what exhibits are showing at museums near you and go get some culture!
  3. Open a nice bottle of champagne just because.  I literally just put a bottle of Le Reve in the fridge so it’s at the ready. (“Get a wine fridge” is on my bigger bucket list… those things are expensive!?!)  I’m tired of waiting for a “special occasion” to come along to pop the good bottles.  Cheers to making more occasions special!
  4. Dinner with girlfriends.  Every time I meet up with some girlfriends for brunch, or shopping, or dinner, or just hanging out I feel renewed and happy. Sharing stories and laughs, or even struggles, is simply heart filling.  I can’t wait to research some new restaurants and get something on the calendar!  Make plans with friends to go somewhere new!  Yelp and Goldstar are great for finding new places and nearby things to do.  
  5. Weekend getaway with the hubs.  Road trip!  Or maybe rail trip?!  I love planning trips and traveling far away for weeks at a time, but this year due to time and money constraints it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen… On the way to work this week I heard an ad for Amtrak fares for less than $100 and thought YASSS!!  I’m super excited to start researching budget-friendly weekend trips.  Make plans to take a break and get away!


Just making the bucket list has got me all excited for how great April is going to be.  What’s on your bucket list?!



day trip to wine country

As you may have gathered, I live in San Francisco.  Every now and then I question whether staying here is worth it given the high taxes, high rents, and general expensiveness of this city.  And then I take a day trip somewhere and decide to stick around a bit longer.

This past Saturday, the hubs and I took a day trip to Napa via Sonoma.  Driving north thru the Robin Williams Tunnel I watched in the rearview as the Golden Gate Bridge shrank away.  Half an hour later we were in Sonoma at The Fremont Diner, our first of four stops.

1. The Fremont Diner. 2660 Fremont Dr., Sonoma, CA  95476

Cheddar jalapeno cornbread, biscuits and gravy, deviled eggs, need I go on?  The Fremont Diner is what I’d call an upscale roadside diner.  The staff is always super friendly, the coffee is good, mimosas even better, and the food more than hits the spot.  Most of our visits we’ve been seated on the patio, but this time we were seated at the bar overlooking the kitchen so I got a great look at most of the menu and it all looked amazing…

Must try:  deviled eggs.

2.  Domaine Carneros. 1240 Duhig Rd, Napa, CA

Just 4 miles up Fremont Drive aka Highway 12 from The Fremont Diner is Domaine Carneros, a champagne house related to Champagne Taittinger.  Tastings are by appointment, but walk-ins are accommodated if there’s room (that’s how we got in).  The Domaine Carneros chateau is BEAUTIFUL, and the perfect setting to sip some bubbly.  I personally found the wines in the Sparkling Sampler to be good – but nothing special really.  Then I had a taste of the Le Reve and it was nothing short of dreamy!  In fact, I liked it so much I joined the wine club on the spot.

Must try:  Le Reve.

3. Rutherford Ranch. 1680 Silverado Trail S, St. Helena, CA  94574

We joined the Rutherford Ranch winery a few years back, and because it’s relatively far away we’ve considered quitting several times… but we just can’t.  The wine is good, but it is the people that work here that make it so unbelievably great.  The property is beautiful with a tree-lined patio and olive grove.  And be sure to check out the cork tree while you’re there!  I think it’s cool.

Must try: Scott Family Chardonnay, Rutherford Ranch Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.


4. Mumm Napa. 8445 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA  94558

Mumm is basically across the street from Rutherford Ranch.  We joined Mumm shortly after our first failed attempt to quit Rutherford.  I adore Mumm.  The wines, the view, the little palette cleansing water crackers – all of it!  Actually, there is one thing I dislike and that is the “2 flute max” policy that they have.  The max helps move people through this popular spot, so I get it.  Just know that you’re not going to be able to order bottle service here.  Pop in and have a great tasting with a gorgeous view and then move on.

Must try:  Santana Supernatural Brut, Brut Reserve Rose, Sparkling Pinot Noir

winery trip pic 3.28.16


Happy sipping and day tripping!