Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Getaways- The Hip and Lovely, Andaz Napa


Last week our, Bloggers in Napa Valley event happened after much planning and excitement!

We checked in to the very fresh and chic, Andaz Napa.

It exceeded our expectations in so many ways.

You can't get a better spot in Downtown Napa. It's close to the charming little walk to the riverfront, and many excellent restaurants and shops.

As it's a short drive from the Silverado Trail, and the neighboring towns of Yountville, Rutherford and St Helena, it's the perfect base for exploring Napa Valley wine country.



Loved the entry and the gorgeous ironwork on the windows.

The welcome is there the moment you arrive. 

They insist you relax while they check you in on an IPhone and hand you a glass of Napa Valley's finest.

Nice!


Heather, and I were already giggling.




We had just had an alfresco lunch at Redd in Yountville. (More to come on that.)



Tamera, Jennifer and Adrienne getting silly in the lobby which had a nice buzz.  There are many spaces to chill and kick back here as well as fruit waters, nuts and other goodies to snack on.

We headed up to check out our rooms and get pretty for our little cocktail meet up we planned for a few Napa Valley friends and fellow bloggers who could make it.

The rooms were beyond.


My particular room was a corner suite that was like an apartment.

I loved the big sitting area with the sectional. It was perfect for having all the girls up later for more chatting and goat cheese. (Told you this was a girl's getaway!)

The bed was as heavenly as it looks. 

Yes, I did take a bath! How could I not?






Much space to spread out including a desk and dresser..



Can I tell you how spoiled I felt to have my own space, as I live with 3 men?

I spread my things about!

Had to keep pinching myself. The rain shower and large bath were indulgent as well.



After I roused myself from this, and secretly schemed how I could stay a few months :D, we headed up to the open terrace top of the hotel.

Andaz's lovely Mercantile Terrace did not disappoint. 




It's a place to dine and socialize with fire pits and sofas, rockers and even swings.

There's a fun vibe out here and frankly, the last thing you want to do is leave your hotel for dinner,  after a day of wine tasting.





We all ended up in some form of black. This is my favorite Instagram of the 5 of us.



There was some serious display of jewels by my fellow bloggers!

Jennifer and Tamera had some beautiful necklaces.


Adrienne wore her wine county necklace she had been working on for this trip. Love it.





We gravitated toward one of the fire pits and met some really great ladies.



Heather and Tamera with the lovely Contessa from The Vintage Hen House, who made the trek up from Orinda. 

So fun to meet her and she's as fabulous as she appears in the blog world!



We also got the pleasure of meeting the charming Wine Country stylist, Malia

This girl is seriously talented and funny as heck too. I am hoping to get to work with her as Adrienne did for her photo shoot and also for her shopping expertise!




After a late dinner out there we all went up to Adrienne's to chat more. 

Her suite had a fireplace and different configuration and was spacious too.



Couldn't resist sharing cute Tamera in her sequin pants. 

We were like girls in slumber party mode and yakked late into the night..




It was hard to leave my cozy room in the morning...




 The sun streamed in and there was a pretty view of the little downtown and the hills beyond.



The fog was still burning off here.




We had room service the first morning. I adore the cute boxes they brought it up in.

This is my quinoa oatmeal with pears and almonds as well as proper Earl Grey tea, loose leaf and all.

Delicious.

There is a also cute breakfast bar where one can grab coffees, smoothies, oatmeal and more.

 We did this the second morning and ate at a high table.




The darling Famer's Table Restaurant is another choice in the hotel for food.



Just adored the lobby. 


Fantastic huge map of Napa.

There's a good feeling about this whole hotel. 

The spaces were so well designed for socializing and relaxing. 

A breakfast bar in the lobby becomes a fun regular bar later in the day.



I cannot say enough about the good service at Andaz. 

Everyone was so friendly and excited to share knowledge about the area and other great spots as well.



We lingered for a long time before departing on the last day.

 It was such a joy being together at this beautiful spot.

I am absolutely coming back to this gem. If you are planning on a trip to the Napa Valley, Andaz is a wonderful choice for so many reasons! 

Thank you to Andaz Napa, and all the lovely folks there who sponsored our stay and made us feel so well looked after. As a woman traveling alone, I really liked that.

Andaz itself, was a holiday and the highlight of this trip.

I am excited to show the other fab parts of this adventure- the friends, the spots we went, the wine we sipped, the hats we bought, the shopping, and our great guide, Mike of Napa Valley Tours and Transportation,  in my Girl's Guide to Napa Valley, up next!


xKim

 A special thanks goes to my dear friend Adrienne who did so much work for this to happen. 



Disclosure: Andaz Napa generously sponsored my lodging for two nights. I paid for food, parking and other incidentals while staying at Andaz Napa. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.


Photos Northern Cal Style and top Andaz exterior photo and Farmer's Table pic courtesy of Andaz Napa Pinterest.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Spring Green and Yellow




Wishing you all a Happy Easter if you celebrate.

I just love a holiday weekend and especially so in Spring.

Today we are joining some dear friends for a multi-family dinner where we all contribute.

It is a nice break to not host after my very exciting week in Napa Valley. I can't wait to share all the cool spots we got to, and the bonding with the lovely blogesses I met.

In the meantime, I saved some of my favorite Images from Pinterest that evoke Spring.

Enjoy dear friends and wishing you all a lovely holiday weekend!












Love this Spring Buds color!

















Vintage John Rawlings for Vogue.









 Looking forward to catching up with you all later this week!

x Kim


Monday, April 14, 2014

Packing Up For a Napa Getaway!

Andaz Napa

Today I'm packing up and hitting the road for our Bloggers in Napa Valley getaway.  After talking and planning this for months, I can hardly believe it's here! I'm very excited to get to stay at the gorgeous Andaz Napa, who is sponsoring our two night stay.






My mind has been spinning with what to pack and what I need to do here to leave the household! It's the longest I've been away from the guys and it will be good for them and me. That said, I have to make sure the men know the week's schedule and have some provisions in house, so they don't entirely default to fast food!

I rarely have the luxury or the time to think so much about myself and what I alone will do! I plan to relish every moment of this little adventure. Being with Adrienne, Heather, Tamera and Jennifer will be wonderful. I feel like we have so much to talk about.

I've never been on a girls only trip to the wine country, but always wanted to. To be back in Napa and wine country will be wonderful. It's such a perfect time of year to visit, and Napa Valley Tours and Transportation is driving us Wednesday to all our winery stops. That is such a nice way to do wine country, without the worries of driving while tasting.

Tuesday, we first meet up at Redd for lunch, in charming Yountville. Afterwards, we want to shop a little and visit the Montecristi Panama Hat Company nearby.  I want to find a hat for Summer! After we check in at Andaz, we will have cocktails before dinner on their pretty terrace.

Wednesday, we will get to start our day at Domaine Carneros, then Pine Ridge Vineyards and later, Merryvale Vineyards. I'm looking forward to finding out more about these wineries and share with you all about these beautiful stops and the wine they create.

Domaine Carneros

Thursday, we hope to get to St Helena, shop at some of the cute stores, and have lunch before leaving.

In between all this we'll chat, eat, drink, chat and eat and oh my gosh, I'll be in heaven.

If you want a little peek at all the doings you can follow us along on Instagram and Twitter. We'll be using #bloggersinnapavalley.

I am excited to show these wonderful destinations and hidden little gems to you all.

Talk soon!

x Kim


Andaz


Photos via Andaz Napa and Domaine Carneros

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Day Trip- Mount Tamalpais and the Charming Mill Valley





Last weekend it was my dear husband Max's birthday. He is one of those guys who is happiest outdoors and would rather have a hike or a kayak trip than a material gift.  I really try hard to come up with ideas that are new and fun.



 One place he hadn't experienced before, was Mount Tamalpais, just north of San Francisco. The four of us planned a little hike and picnic lunch for him.


Mount Tamalpais is easily accessible, just a bit North of San Francisco. There are hikes for all levels. The most popular is a 10 mile hike that takes about 4 hours or more. Since this was our first time, it was lightly raining, and one of our sons was experiencing horrible Spring allergies, we decided to do an easy trail.













 You can drive almost to the top. We stopped at the East Peak Summit, where there is a Visitor Center and a museum/barn with relics from the former gravity car railroad that closed in the 1930s.



Can you imagine hiking in those corsets and heavy skirts?

Seems dangerous!

From this point we hiked about half a mile up to the Lookout.





The views were unbelievable from the 2,571 foot peak. The trail is a bit rocky, but easy and once you get up, you can grab a boulder and have a rest.



With the amazing San Francisco Bay spread out before us, we ate our picnic. Up here one overlooks Sausalito and Tiburon to the left, the Golden Gate ahead and over to the far right, ships entering San Francisco Bay loomed. On a clear day you can see 25 miles out to the Farallon Islands, and on rare days all the way to Yosemite and the Sierras.




I look goofy with my 2 jackets and scarf. Can you tell I hate being cold?



We found this cool bus in the parking lot. SO Marin County and Northern Cal! Loved it.


After taking in the views, we drove down to the nearby little town of Mill Valley.

 I adore how Mill Valley is nestled in between the hills here and yet so close to the beach.






The streets meander around canyon homes that make for some great house gawking.




Love the abundant plants that grow in this climate.




Downtown is a treasure trove of cafe's, unique shops and coffee stops.




Griffin and I had fun checking out the goods this surf wear store. (Sorry couldn't find or remember the name if anyone knows I'll add it!)



 I want that sweatshirt!



I also stumbled upon a wonderful home store- Summerhouse. Gorgeous pillows and accessories here as well as beautiful antiques mixed in.



Tyler Florence's Store and Kitchen is in town as well, but under renovation right now.


Many charming and unique shops!

Nary a chain store to be found here, which is so cool.






One of my musts here is the old train depot, which has been turned into a bookstore/ coffee house. . .



You can sit out on a sunny day and a center plaza connects to this. Perfect for kids to run about while you have a latte, if you have young ones.

This bookstore is small, but holds some fun picks and also uniquely California items. I bought cards with Redwood woodcut drawings that were so pretty.  I'm smitten with anything Redwood inspired. (Though, that exempts chain saw sculpted bears and the like, thank you.)

Mill Valley is a wonderful stop for lunch or a coffee break if you get up this way.

Other spots not to miss up this way are Muir Beach, and it's fabulous Pelican Inn, with it's authentic pub food, that can be enjoyed on the lawn on a sunny day.

Muir Woods is a must do and also has easy hikes if you aren't up for mountain trails, but want to see old-growth Redwoods. The pretty towns of Sausalito and Tiburon are wonderful destinations as well and all are bordered by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

All of these are within a short drive of San Francisco, just North of the Golden Gate.



I never tire of driving over this bridge. It's always a little thrill to me.

Hope you are enjoying your Spring Break if you are on it. I'm popping over to the beach for a little bit. Love to hear what you all are doing too.

Kim