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


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.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Fun Spring Things

A fast post today friends! I just wanted to share a little news and some fun finds with you!

 Have you an Anthropologie? I love popping in our town one for inspiration.

The kitchen section is my favorite.

I get excited for all kinds of Spring parties when I see glasses like these.

This cookbook looks fabulous! Just transport me there, now!!

Look at these lovelies. So many gorgeous things blooming on my morning walks.

Many of you are getting ready for Spring Break or are already enjoying one. Ours is next week and I think a couple of us are already checked out if you know what I mean.

Boys can be like that, this time of year. Everything tends to fall away... I get that myself. Probably hereditary. I've got to keep reeling these guys back in until we hit June. It ain't easy and frankly being the mother of boys is a daily struggle as well as a joy. I just keep telling myself to keep fighting the good fight (because that is what it is many days.)

That is why I am excited to also share a little fun news. I am going to be able to get away for my own Spring Break in Napa with some blogger pals for 2 nights in a couple weeks!! It hardly seems true. We are being hosted by the beautiful Andaz Napa and also Napa Valley Tours & Transportation. I'll get to hang out with fun friends and have my very own lovely room.  (The room to myself part is almost enough! ) I feel like the luckiest girl in the world right now.

I am excited to share with you all the beauty of the wine country and the special places we will go.
Joining me will be Adrienne of The Rich Life on a Budget, and Heather of StyleMindChic, my two pals from my San Francisco Getaway to the Hotel Monaco. This time joining us on this adventure, will be more lovely California gals, the jewelry designer and blogger Tamera Beardsley, and the chic Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life. It will be nice to meet them both in person. I feel like I know them already from their wonderful blogs.

I've been doing a ton of (over)thinking about what to bring! These kind of things don't happen all the time, so I want to make sure I pack the right pieces. Can't wait to share when I get it all sorted out. I'm doing that in tandem with my Spring wardrobe and closet sorting out.

As I mentioned in my florals post, one thing missing from the my closet was a decent skirt. I really wanted one to wear for the How I Wear My ...Skirt Edition on Jill of Everything Just So and Adrienne of The Rich Life blogs today! It was inspiring to see many pretty versions of how to wear a skirt and all the creative participants. Pop over to their blogs to see it.

Grainy photo, but was raining cats and dogs outside and I had to send a pic in.

 What I found was this pencil skirt at my local J Crew . It's on sale plus additional 30%! It was a surprise when I checked out, as it just got marked it down Monday, so move fast if you want one. ( I was really there shopping for the hub's birthday, but it caught my eye.)  If you want to add a pretty skirt I also found this Ann Taylor one for Spring date nights in my search and this gorgeous skirt, which a bit more of a splurge.  Skirts make it so easy to look polished and I like that you can dress one up or make it easy for day with a sweater or a T and flats.  I added this lightweight blue merino sweater I'm wearing also on sale, and it made for a look that is more California casual me!

While we are on the subject of Spring and freshening up, I loved this month's Allure.

I'm not a huge magazine girl anymore and frankly, half go unread as I seem to have less time, and also less interest in them. However, Allure still is one of my favorites. Linda Wells, the editor does a great job of making that publication smart with really relevant articles on health, latest science and beauty breakthroughs, and fashion spreads that often center around travel.

This month I actually sat down and read it for what was going to be a few minutes, but ended up being cover to cover. It's the best issue in a long while and had a ton of articles on aging well and keeping your look fresh as well as being healthy.

Super that they had many older models in this issue. This particular article was addressing greying hair and how to color it and cut as you age. Great stuff.

Amber Valetta was in this article about how she stays fit.

Also a terrific piece on the 25 best new anti-aging beauty products and most can be found at the local CVS. I plan on trying a few and will report back!

Lauren Conrad was also featured. Loved her honesty and especially her advice on how to look more like a California girl. Was very true...

This was a great issue that I plan on saving. So if you've got some downtime, find a chair and curl up for a bit with this. OR maybe you are on a holiday and can find a lounge chair, a floppy hat, and an ice tea. That's my preferred method of magazine reading!

Back soon with our weekend excursion to Mt Tamalpais and the charming Mill Valley.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

California Dreamy - A Los Gatos Home for Sale

Happy Saturday everyone. Just wanted to share a beautiful California home with you all today.

Panaoramic view anyone? Hot tub too. The little lights of Saratoga and Los Gatos twinkle at night.

My talented and lovely friend Barbara is selling her home in one of the most gorgeous spots in Los Gatos, here in the Bay Area. It's one of those homes that takes your breath away when you walk in, with floor to ceiling windows and views straight out to the Santa Cruz Mountains.

I interspersed the photos from the listing with a few of my own.

These a from a lovely evening last year at Barbara's home.

Barb setting a fun girls' dinner alfresco.

She also is a sought after floral designer who works independently.

Amazing sunset she sees every night.

The first time I walked in I remember thinking living here is the California dream!

The home's main floor takes in all the views with open living and a large decks that extend the living space to the outdoors.

Barb works on her computer here in the kitchen and has breakfast with a view!

Trees grow through the decks and you really feel like you are in your own paradise when you are there. Wine and dinner on her deck have been some of the most memorable times ever.

 The sunsets are divine with the clouds creeping over the mountains from the sea. I told her I'd love to have my morning coffee with that view and frankly, I'd have a hard time leaving the house. It's that gorgeous. These pictures are beautiful, but don't even do it justice.

Barb has made this house cozy and charming with her special touches and sense of humor, which made this house a real home, not just a showplace. Though it's quite large it always had a warm feeling to it that I love!

Yes that is a salt-water fish tank built into the wall !
The other side of the fish tank is in the sunny dining room. Love all the windows and French doors.

Barb and her love, Jim are off to new places and adventures. Her three kids are grown and she is ready for a change. I get that. She kindly offered to let me share this beautiful spot of Northern California with you all.

Lots of windows which I love in all the rooms, office and baths too.

If all this wasn't already enough, it's on Hollywood Avenue!!

The realtors did a fun spoof on the street name and hired a Marilyn Monroe to come -red carpet included!

I adore her front porch too. (Behind Marilyn!)

Who says you can't live like the stars?

There is an Open House this weekend ! Schools are the top in California here. The home feel like it's in the mountains, but is a 5-10 minute walk to the quaint town of Los Gatos with it's shops, restaurants and very close (5 minutes), from all the main hiking and biking paths and trails here.

 You get the best of in town living, but feel like you are away from it all... Full house tour is here.

Thanks Barb for letting us see what life is like on Hollywood Avenue!