Friday, August 21, 2015

Sonoma Weekend

Dan and I had a fun weekend getaway last week. We've been racking up airline miles (with building those houses and all) so we cashed them in for a Friday night flight to the Bay Area. Our lovely friends AJ and Sheena picked us up and we drove out to wine country to meet up with the rest of our friends. The Wanamaker's rented a an awesome airbnb house and we split it between all of us. 

On Saturday we went to the Roth Estate Winery down the street from our house and played Cambodian jenga while wine tasting...later on we went on a Russian River Float! It was really fun -- a calm cool river, sprinkled with a few "Oh my god" rapids ;) I ended up popping my floatie on the first valiant husband insisted on giving me his. What a guy! After the float we came back to the house, made dinner, drank a bit more wine and explored the land behind the house.

The next day we drove to the Francis Ford Coppola Winery, lounged by the pool, sipped on mudslides and had a private tasting and tour at the winery! Thanks for the hook up Mr. Wanamaker! It was really interesting to learn about the wine making process! I had no clue how complicated it really is...

What a fabulous weekend.
I love these people <3

Now I'm not a wine connoisseur by any means...I have know idea what I'm doing, but I thought it would be fun to put together a little list of my personal favorites that we tried over the weekend! I'm on my way to understanding why people go nuts for wine!


Roth 2012 Alexander Valley Heritage Enticing deep, dark purple color. The wine features smoky, firewood aromas and dark fruit notes such as blackberry, and cherry. The palate draws you in with a good mouth-feel and rich flavors of violet, coffee, clove and vanilla bean.

Roth 2014 Sauvgnon Blanc is crisp and balanced with a nice vibrant acidity. On the nose, it displays notes of tropical fruits, citrus zest and floral aromas that carry through to the palate with lively flavors of melon and grapefruit. This wine finishes strong for a long, juicy finish.

Coppola's 2010 Archimedes is a luxurious Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, delivering immensely concentrated flavors of black cherries and juicy red plums. Opulent and aromatic, opening with an alluring fragrance of cherries, figs, cocoa and lavender. Dark, luscious flavors of cassis, plums and blackberries are accentuated by spicy notes of cloves and allspice. The wine is dense with medium tannins and a long, flavorful fruit finish crowned by the scent of cigar box. 

Coppola's 2012 Reserve Viognier Chardonnay is a real show stopper that bursts from the glass with perfume of pears, honeysuckle and cloves. Its rich, lush palate includes pineapple, peach, and melon flavors that are balanced by zesty citrus fruit, notes of minerals and a beautiful butterscotch finish.
^^^I do believe this award winning beauty is my favorite!!! I’m a bit of a wimp when if comes to big bold wines, so this one is perfect -- smooth, easy and fabulous to drink by the pool or dine al fresco on a warm breezy evening. A complex and creamy Chardonnay, layered with juicy citrus flavors and a buttery finish. Ahhh yes…this is my pick right here people!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Oh Hey There Minted.

I have been crushing on Minted for a long time. When they reached out to see if I would be interested in a sponsored post, I jumped at the chance because their company is one of my favorites and their products are just too gorgeous not to share! Minted is a marketplace of independent artists who create and submit designs for all your paper necessities… everything from wedding invitations to limited edition art prints and paper party decor. Minted has it all! Being an art lover myself, I think it's a fabulous company and a great way to showcase and support artists. The public is welcome to vote and submit for free! <-- LOVE this!

It’s easy to lose track of time while exploring their site – they have so many options! I’m especially fond of Minted's save the date cards. Wedding fever is catching among our friends... every time we open our mailbox it seems that another couple is tying the knot!  I was recently the MOH for my best friend Shan and she decided on these beautiful Minted wedding invitations. They were perfect for her garden wedding! I recommend Minted to any of my bride-to-be friends who are searching for their save-the-dates and wedding invitations. You can’t go wrong!

Yes, Minted is the dream one-stop-shop for all your wedding paper needs, but they are so much bigger than just weddings. I really enjoy Minted's personalized stationery, day planners and journals – helpful items to get your family organized with the new school year fast approaching. And photo calendars are a beautiful way to display some special moments throughout the year.

Gawwww I love this personal stationery ^

A few more things Minted offers ^^^

P.S. Is it too early to be thinking about Christmas cards? I am falling for these

***All pictures come from Minted***

My Best Friend's Wedding

My best friend got married to her Navy man a few months back! I've been holding off on the post, because I wanted to share some of their gorgeous wedding pictures too! Thanks for letting Danny and me be a part of your special day! We love you both so much and wish you all the happiness in the world.

A little MOH love to her best friend and groom. 
A small slice of my cheesy speech... 

"It is impossible to not see the love, respect and friendship between you. It is the kind of relationship we should all aspire too…one that pushes you to be your best, to trust in your partner and to live by the motto -- home is where your heart is / or home is wherever I'm with you. 

Love is powerful – it’s the virtue that holds all others together. Whatever plan God may have for your future, you will know with certainty that he gave you each other to get there as a couple
to love each other 
to support each other 
and to make each other stronger 

Cheers to Justin and Shannon and their greatest adventure yet.  May you both grow more in love each day and be surrounded by the support of family, friends and God’s immeasurable love.  Cheers to a lifetime of happiness."

A little wedding clip I put together:
"All I Do Is Dream of You" by Debbie Reynolds and Bobby Van {S and J's 1st Dance Song}


Photography: jmfoto photographic co.  | InvitationsMinted  |  Venue: Twin Oaks Garden Estate  | Catering: Twin Oaks  |  Floral Design: "Petite Bouquet" | Linens & China: Twin Oaks | Wedding Dress:Allure Bridals 9121 | Suit Rentals: Men's Warehouse & Navy Dress Whites  |  Hair & Makeup: Annie Mergenthaler & Camille Smith 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Vegan Vanilla Caramel Slice

The most AMAZING vanilla caramel slices! They taste like caramelly cookie dough heaven! Vegan and refined sugar free. Made from wholesome ingredients with healthy benefits! I like to keep these in the freezer and have one for dessert...or breakfast ;) with a cup of coffee. Awww perfection! 

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 cup soft pitted dates
1 cup almond flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. water

Blend ingredients in a food processor until combined. Press date mixture into a lined (wax paper) 9X9 glass dish.  Place in the freezer.

Middle Layer:
2 cups soft pitted dates
1 tbsp. peanut butter
3 tbsp.  tahini
1/2 cup hemp mylk
1 tbsp. mesquite powder (*see note below)
1 tsp. vanilla

Blend ingredients in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Pour on top of the base mixture and use a spatula to spread it evenly into the corners of the dish. Place back in the freezer.

Top Layer:
1/2 cup raw cocoa powder
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 tbsp. pure maple syrup (optional sweetener)
Mix ingredients in a cup. Use a microwave if needed to melt the coconut oil.
Pour on top and spread chocolate sauce evenly over the caramel-date layer.

Sprinkle with topping of your choice or keep plain (I used chopped pistachios and Brazil nuts).
Place in the freezer for 8 hours (or over night). Cut into slices and serve!

*Note on Mesquite Powder

So when I first heard about Mesquite powder, I thought it would taste like smoky BBQ; not so... it has a sweet nutty caramel-like flavor, making it ideal for a natural sweetener in desserts. Mesquite powder is ground from the pods of the mesquite plant and is high in protein, low on the glycemic index and is a good source of soluble fiber, calcium, iron, lysine, manganese, zinc, and potassium. Nice...