Thursday, May 4, 2017

Every Kiss Begins....

Cars have the best lighting for selfies!  Am I right?!  Anyway, now that we've addressed that :) let's address that lip color.  We've all heard of LipSense but have you ever tried?  The lovely Kelsey over at Every Kiss Begins with Kels (clever name huh!) sent me a few products to try out.  I tried LipSense before and from the first application, I feel in love with this product!  You put the color on in the morning and it lasts all day (literally!!) and never comes off on your cups or more importantly, on those little babies you are kissing all day!

Kelsey surprised me with Apple Cider (which has been on my list since the beginning) and Orchid Gloss.  As you can see from the below picture, the good & bad thing with lip colors is they look different on everybody.

This color went a little more pink/melon-y on me than I'm used to.  I usually go more for the browns/maroons.  Although this is more of a natural color, initially, the color threw me off a little bit. However, the more I wear it, the more I'm getting used to it!  Regardless of the color, the formula is the same...amazing :)  You seal the color with their gloss which is designed to heal your lips from the inside out.  Honestly, if you ask anybody that knows me, they will tell you I apply chapstick 1,347 times per day.  However, after starting to wear LipSense daily, I'm not using all!!!  I do reapply the gloss throughout the day if I feel a little dry (mostly after eating) but I don't feel the need to use chapstick anymore.

Here is the fun thing about LipSense- you can layer with different colors!  So, if you have 2 tubes, you can get tons of options and colors!  I cannot wait to play around with apple cider and find a good combination.

This picture is 12 hours after the application....still on!!!  Love it.

Something else fun I got to try is the ShadowSense from SeneGence skin care line.  This is a creme to powder formula for eyes.  This specific color (sandstone pearl shimmer) would be an excellent base.  It is lighter and more shimmery than I usually wear (I try to save my shimmer for the highlighter around my cheeks so therefore try to avoid more shimmer around my eye).  But, I used it by itself to see if it had the waterproof/smudge proof that the lips have.  It stayed allllll day as well!

I cannot say enough great things about this company!  How fun is it to wear color every day and only need to apply once?!  I just ordered a bold red....can't wait to rock that!  More information and all things LipSense can be found from the wonderful Kelsey | Facebook | IG!!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Leni- 11 Months

Clothes- 18 months.  Everything up until this point has been Charlie's old clothes.  I finally had to order some new clothes for Miss Leni because our warm-weather clothes were slim pickings!

Health- Ah, just a nice relief this month.  Everybody was healthy and free of sickness

Diet- Last month of formula and bottles, yay!!  We are still doing 4 bottles.  She never really finishes a bottle, so we will be decreasing the milk a little bit next month.  She is definitely enjoying real food rather than the milk.  And this month, 2 teeth made their way at the same time.  We can't wait until she gets some more so we can feed her more food.  So far, she really likes everything we eat (except sweet potatoes!).

Crying- happy happy girl all the time!  She especially loves her big sissy!

Sleep- Same thing here with no changes.  2 naps a day (9:30 and 1:00) and sleep around 7:15pm.  I can tell she is beginning to start the transition to 1 nap.  Her second nap is rarely the full 2 hours.  But she stays up there just talking and playing away so while this keeps up, we will definitely keep the 2 naps.

Likes- protein, raspberries (her and Charlie go through a whole container at each meal!), and rough-housing with sissy and daddy

Disklikes- being hungry!  Now that we've moved until more solid foods, Leni lets you know when she is ready for her meal or snack.  

Milestones- Crawling got so fast this month.  Leni is also able to go from a sitting position to standing up all by herself with no assistance.  We know those first steps will be any day now!  I took the push toy outside and Leni walked herself all the way around the cul-de-sac.

This month also brought a lot more babbling/talking.  No other words (she did say "water" (wawa) for Charlie and I) but we hear a lot from Leni all day.

Other Thoughts- How in the world are we at 11 months!!  I cannot believe we are planning the first birthday.  This is such a fun age and we love all the giggles and love we get from you every day.  Any time somebody is down on the floor, you love going to them and crawling all over them (especially your sister!).  We know you will be walking at some point in the next month.  I can just tell you will not be my cautious one.  We love to see and are amazed by your determination.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Wine Country- Part IV

Whew, last vacation post!  We jammed so much in over the four days and learned so much that there was no way I could squeeze everything into 1 or 2 posts.  Thanks for following along :)

So, last thing to do in Napa before heading to San Francisco was the hot air balloon ride.  Derek is afraid of heights.  However, this has been on my bucket list forever.  I knew if I ever got to Napa Valley, I would do the hot air balloon ride.  Derek reluctantly said fine and wanted to make my dreams come true (ha!, I added that last part in there).

Anyway, I woke up in a panic in the middle of the night about this stupid balloon ride.  I was wondering what I got ourselves into...

Derek woke up fine and all ready for it.  I was a nervous wreck.  I'm not sure if I was playing off of Derek or what.  I'm not scared of heights...or really anything like this!  I had no idea what my deal was.  Maybe it is because I'm a mom now and doing things that could potentially risk my life sends me into over-driver.  I'll never know!  Anyway, I was ready to get this show on the road...and we had to wait around for the perfect lift off moment.  Like SIXTY MINUTES of waiting around.  I'm being over dramatic, I know.

Something crazy about the balloon...the basket is NOT that high!!  Seriously, like a little higher than my waist.  So no straps or anything and you are right up against the edge.

All this crazy nervous energy aside, the ride was extremely calm and peaceful.  You are not experiencing any wind or anything.  I finally got up the nerve to get my camera and phone out to take some pictures and video.

I could tell Derek was very uncomfortable the entire ride.  Later to find out, he was focusing on coming up with a game plan on how to save us if we fell out lol.  Needless to say, we were so glad when we hit land (extremely soft landing) and would never be doing that again.  Thanks Derek for taking one for the team and getting something crossed off my bucket list!

Now we sadly had to check out of our beautiful hotel.  BUT, we were headed to San Francisco!

Derek and I are the least touristy people you will ever find.  We explore new places through their food and restaurants.  We never go to museums or really even monuments to see things.  We try our best to get a taste of their culture by staying away from the tourist spots and going where the locals go.  Who knows if we do a good job at this, but we have fun trying!

We had zero plans when getting to San Francisco.  This is never a good idea with Derek and myself.  We function better with plans.  We got in an Uber and asked where to go.  We ended up at Fisherman's Wharf....if you are following, this is the exact place we didn't want to be.  We had no idea what to do!  We grabbed some street tacos from a cool restaurant in the financial district and went back to the hotel to take a nap.  When in doubt what to do...take a nap :)

Derek did some research and we ended up at a super cool, very industrial, small bar, Benjamin Cooper.  This was an absolute gem!  First, the entrance is rather secret, which is pretty cool.  Second, Derek and I had the best oysters we have ever had!  They are known for their specialty cocktails but serve fresh oysters...and man, were they good!  We contemplated staying there for dinner and just eating oysters.

This was the best find because we could chat with the bartenders (usually the best for suggestions!) of where to grab dinner.  He suggested Liholiho, a "hip Hawaiian, Indian, and Chinese eatery" that was just named best new restaurant in the city!  Even though we got there at 5:00, reservations were all full for the evening.  However, there were 2 spots left at a communal table that we jumped all over!

We enjoyed the pork tongue steam buns, hopper shrimp, and wagyu rib-eye.  We ended our trip with an amazing meal!!

We were so ready to get home to our girls..honestly, we wished we were on a plane home that last day.  But they were in such good hands thanks to Derek's parents!

Until next time, Wine Country!


Friday, March 31, 2017

Wine Country- Part III

Even though we were in bed by 8, we woke up tired...and a little hung over :)  I went to our hotel's breakfast and enjoyed an omelet and coffee (my vacation splurge) while Derek stayed in bed.  We all know Derek loves to have a good time...we also all know, Derek can't hang with the big kids the next day.  Luckily, he pulled himself together for our day of tastings.  

We started out at Silver Oak.

We did not have any experience with Silver Oak.  However, oakville is known as the best cabernets in the world.  The day before we were able to do some tastings at Groth, which is also in Oakville.  However, two main differences: 1) Silver Oak grows their grapes offsite (on a hillside) and also uses American Oak barrels to age their wine.  Silver Oak is also super expensive...probably the main reason we have never tried it, ha!  BUT, it is known as one of the best cabernets so I knew I wanted to make a stop in their tasting room.  AND, they are one of the only ones open at 9am, so I thought it made sense to get in as much tasting as possible, right?!

I was honestly worried about starting out our day with an oakville cab (the not-so-great tasting experience at Groth the day before had me nervous); however, the tasting here was so fantastic.  I can't even begin to explain how great these cabernets were.  So incredibly drinkable even though they were very young.  The hostess was awful (the worst of the entire trip), but the wine made up for it.  And because Derek was enjoying coffee while I was tasting, we had to purchase a bottle so he could someday try this amazing wine!

Fun Fact- Silver Oak only does cabernet.  And really only two types, one from Napa Valley and one from Alexander Valley (Sonoma county).  You can really tell how beneficial it is to concentrate all your efforts with their outstanding wine.  Surprisingly, I preferred the Alexander Valley.

Next up was Cakebread Cellars

We chose this stop because we heard amazing things about their tours.  We tried this wine once on a long layover at an airport.  Again, this wine is a splurge, but we wanted to check out their tour and try their wines again.

We arrived early because Silver Oak's hostess was so awful. Cakebread did not skip a beat and took us on a private tour.  I have to say that this place had wonderful whites.  As you can probably tell, we are red wine drinkers; however, I was thinking about purchasing a white here.  So delicious!

Because they also have tours and events that feature food, Cakebread has their own garden.  One fun things we tried was an oyster plant.  It literally tastes like an oyster on a half shell.

We learned a lot here while on our tour.  We also learned a good bit about tasting wine and how to characterize....something I want to get better at!

Next stop was Mustard's Grill

Again, another fantastic spot!  We tried their butternut soup, famous pork chop, and seafood tostada.  The food was absolutely delicious and hit the spot.

The next stop was Lewis Cellars.

We have never tried their wines.  In fact, not a lot of people (tourist) have even had tastings here because this is not a public winery.  We were asked how we got in by the locals...we had no idea this place was so exclusive!  We looked up the top wine of 2016 and Lewis Cellars had the #1 wine (according to Wine Spectator).  I called the winery and they said they could do a tasting for us on the day we were available.  Even though we had never tried their wines, we were very excited!

The tasting was very intimate.  We were able to try a handful of different wines and ask a lot of questions.  It was probably one of our shortest tastings and while the wine was not our favorite, we were glad we made the stop.  We purchased a bottle and cannot wait to age it and try it down the road.

Our last and final stop was Del Dotto in Napa.  This was the furthest we traveled down the valley.  We heard amazing things about this tour.  It is a complete cave tasting tour...meaning, you taste the wine straight out of the barrels the whole time.

It was a lot of fun but not exactly what I was expecting.  All the locals and reviews we read beforehand mentioned how much they give you for the tastings.  I was very careful and poured out my first 3 tastings after trying it because I was trying to pace myself.  However, there were only 2 more after that.  SO, I don't know if we came at the wrong time or what, but we certainly had more pours at other locations.  The wine was very good.  There was one other couple there from Chicago that we had a lot of fun talking with.  This was probably the least memorable tasting we had...not sure if it was because of the last stop or what.

Our tastings were all done for our trip.  Overall, I'm extremely happy with the ones we chose.  I cannot wait to go back and try all new ones!

That evening, we made a quick stop over at our favorite new wine shop, Wine Country Connection.  We wanted to meet the other partner, the master sommelier.  I have a newfound obsession with sommeliers and I wanted to pick his brain!

Fun Fact- In order to become a master sommelier, the last test you must identify 4 out of 6 wines in the vintage, varietal (varieties), country, region/appellation, and quality.  Talk about impossible!!

Ah, our last dinner reservations were at The French Laundry.  We consider ourselves SO lucky to eat here!

We tried to make reservations before arriving and were put on the wait list.  After doing some reading, it is close to impossible to get reservations.  A good method is to have 4-5 people calling at the same time on the day reservations open to increase your chances of getting a hold of a reservation specialist.  That day (Tuesday), we received a phone call, we got in!  Derek and I were pretty giddy the rest of the day.  We couldn't wait to go and experience the meal!

We enjoyed:
1) Oyster and Pearls (Sabayon of pearl tapioca with island creek oysters an white sturgeon caviar)
2) Garden Kohlrabi Salad (Winter radishes, K&J orchards asian pears, brokaw avocado mousse and cilantro leaves)
3) Sautéed Fillet of Mediterranean John Dory (Slow roasted garden lettuces and black winter truffle emulsion)
4) Wild Scottish Langoustine Boudin (Toasted brioche, preserve meyer lemon, glazed cauliflower and creamy lobster broth)
5) Bread and Butter (Bitter cocoa laminated brioche and Diane St. Clair's animal farm butter)
6) Four Story Hill Farm Poularde (Hobbs' bacon, caramelized cipollini onions and braised garden collard greens)
7) Herb Roasted Elysian Fields Farm Lamb (Dark raisin marmalade, pearl onions, celery root confit, bitter lettuces and pinot noir sauce)
8) Gougere & Assortment of Desserts (fruit, ice cream, chocolate and candies)

Oh my goodness, we enjoyed ourselves!  The food was over-the-top ah-mazing.  We asked so many questions about the dishes.  They would explain it when the food came out and after trying it, we would get a flavor that was surprising or we didn't hear about when they first told us about the dish.  Loved this experience and I realize it will probably be a once in a lifetime :)


Monday, March 27, 2017

Leni- 10 Months

Clothes- 18 months is where it is at for Miss Leni.  We are keeping her in 12 month sleepers because she is still losing her feet out of the sleeper when crawling around.  Once she starts walking, these will get packed away.

Health- We had a cold this month that then led to diarrhea for about 8 days, ugh!  The rest of the house had a stomach bug at the same time so we weren't sure if these effects were from the cold, another bug, or just her version of our stomach bug.  Thank goodness that is over!

Diet- Same old same old here.  We are still doing 4 bottles a day (3 with 7 ounces and 1 with 8 ounces).  I'm thinking this will be the norm until 1 year where we will put those babies away cold turkey.  She drinks from a sippy cup for water and will drink water from a straw out at restaurants.  She just refuses to take her milk from a sippy cup.  Still on Similac Supplementation.  

Solid foods have ramped up this month.  Leni is starting to veer away from purred foods and really enjoys feeding herself.  Come on teeth...still 0!!

Crying- such a happy girl this month!  Crying was usually due to falling as we have started furniture walking a whole lot this month.

Sleep- 2 naps a day (9:30 & 1:00).  The cat nap was gone this month!  Bedtime is around 7:00/7:15 and then she is up at 7:30am.  We had 2 wake up's this for Grandma & Grandpa while we were on vacation.  Not sure what they were related to, but we were thinking teething.

Likes- This month, it was all about being on the move!  Moving towards the dog dishes is definitely her favorite thing to do.  She will stop right before, turn and look at you, and then keep going.  She loves to be wherever her big sissy is and loves being read to.

Disklikes- being left alone in a room and having things taken from her

Milestones- BIG month for movement.  Leni has started regular night I took off her clothes after a blow-out, and she crawled everywhere.  I guess not having the clothes prevented her from army crawling.  Pulling herself up (on about everything) and furniture walking happened this month.  She is not too big on pushing things when walking, but would rather be walking to and from things.  Sometimes, she tries to walk without holding onto something and of course falls because she cannot balance yet!

Mama finally came out of her mouth.  Everything is still pretty much dada.

Other Thoughts- This month was so much fun!  You are becoming very independent and spend most of your time exploring your surroundings.   As long as big sister is around, you are content playing all by yourself.  In the evenings is my snuggle time as you will sit still long enough for me to hold you!  We cannot believe how big you have gotten.  You will definitely be walking soon...we wonder what will come first, a tooth or that first step!  You also love when we say a word, such a mama, and you will say dada dada dada.  Your daddy wanted to make sure I added that tidbit in here for the record books :)

Friday, March 24, 2017

Wine Country- Part II

Day 2 started out grabbing breakfast at Bouchon Bakery (another Thomas Kellar restaurant).  Just a FYI, staying in Yountville was a foodie lover's dream come true.  Not enough time to fit in all the food we wanted to try!  Anyway, French croissants and macaroons were on our list to grab before starting our day.

We hired a driver from Wine Country Drivers for our trip and had a GREAT experience.  We knew we didn't want to worry about doing tastings and driving, so getting a driving was a must for us.  

We started our day at Amizetta Winery.  Oh, my, goodness!!!  This winery was ah-mazing.  It was out in the middle of nowhere and settled up on a hillside.  The views were incredible from this winery.

We received a private tour by the family and learned about hillside wineries.  Fun fact- some of the steepest hillsides located on this winery are up to 60% slope.  By current regulations, nothing can be over 30%...thus, since this was grandfathered-in, this winery has some of the steepest land for the grapes to grow.  And you know what they say, stressed grapes are the best grapes.

We also got to tour Amizetta's barrel aging cave.  One of the things I found most interesting (#1 was trying different grapes from the different appellations) was trying wine from different barrels.  The ones we tried while on our trip were either French Oak or American Oak.  Very interesting the differences.  

We LOVED our experience at Amizetta.  May have been our favorite!  Maybe because of the views, maybe because it was a private tour, maybe because it was our first one, or maybe because it was family owned and ran....who knows!  It will forever stay with us.  If we ever join a wine club, it would be with Amizetta!

Next, we left to go to another hillside winery, Burgess Cellars.  We became familiar with Burgess from a restaurant we frequent when we go on vacation in Florida.  The bartender we always request let us know about this gem of a wine.  This was Derek's only request for which winery we go to and I am SO glad we did.


Again, the views were so incredible.  We were so lucky to have another private tasting...I still don't know how we got so lucky this day!  The person who was hosting our tasting experience, pulled 9 wines for us to try!!!  Yeah- there were lots of water and snack breaks lol.  I remember at one point thinking we had to be close to done and looked at our list and we were only have way through.

We were able to ask so many questions and learn a lot about this wine.  Fun Fact- all of these tastings were 100% straight varietals...meaning, every wine we tried (beside 1) were 100% cabernet, or 100% syrah, 100% merlot, etc. etc.  This was the coolest way to try wine!  Most of the time you are tasting a blend technically.  For example, you only need 75% of cabernet grapes in a wine to call it a cabernet even though 25% of the wine contains other grapes.  So, you could really figure out which elements you preferred in each grape.

If this didn't tie with our favorite came in at a close second!

It was now break time.  We made a pit stop at Gott's Roadside for a burger and fries!

We were (again) the only ones not enjoying an adult beverage with lunch....we needed a break, ha!

Our last stop for the day (with the driver) was Groth Vineyard & Winery

Groth is that beautiful pink looking building located on the valley floor.  While our tasting experience here was fabulous because we learned so much...the wines were very young and very hard to drink.  The grapes used in this winery are located on the estate/valley floor.  It was incredibly interesting to hear how they stressed the grapes themselves since they do not have hillsides to rely on for this.  We must have seemed disinterested in the wine because they finally started pulling out their library wines (a term we learned that meant an older vintage) which then tasted REALLY good, ha!

From there we said goodbye to our driver and headed over to a wine shop across the street from our hotel.  Wine Country Connection ended up being our best friend!  It is an adorable wine shop that featured 75+ different wines to try.  This was exactly what we were looking for.  We met the owner (and then the next day, the master sommelier who was also a business partner) and tried wines that evening.  2 hours flew by and before we knew it (and before we knew how much wine we drank!) it was dinner time.  We had dinner that evening at Redd which was absolutely fabulous.  We shared the glazed pork belly, and I had the gnocchi and Derek had the sashimi.  We brought a bottle of wine to drink with dinner.  As you can imagine if you are tallying up how much we had to to drink at that point, we barely touched that wine, ha!

As with the first night, we were ready for bed...and it was only 8pm (California time that is) :)