Thursday, August 11, 2011

California Loveee

Warning: This might be the most picture-filled post to date.

Sorry it's been a few days - I was off drinking wine in Napa, shopping in San Fran and turning 25 in the airport. No big deal!

Kidddddddding! It was the most amazing trip ever! Lauren and I got up bright and early for our 8 a.m. flight. We may or may not have started out our trip like this.

Airport Mimosas
A few hours, and two crazy plane rides full of characters later, we arrived in San Francisco. Our friend Justin picked us up and we immediately headed to Napa Valley to start sipping! We spent Friday afternoon, all day Saturday and most of the day Sunday indulging in wine tastings, buying bottles and wine and cheese for lunch and contemplating our move from Raleigh to Northern California. Some of my absolute favorite wineries included Franciscan, Sterling (complete with gondola ride), Castello di Amoroso, Chateau St. Jean, Mondavi, Sequoia Grove and Kenwood (champy!), but it's hard to narrow it down. They were all insanely beautiful with delicious wines. I learned so much and am looking forward to utilizing my knowledge at wine stores here! Here are a few of the sites from wine country (excuse the poor quality, these are phone pictures! I'll add more once I upload them from my camera)

Oak barrels used to store and age the wine.

Beautiful wine country.

Church in Castello di Amoroso

After several days of 100+ heat at home, this looks pretty nice!

Enjoying a bottle and snacks in gorgeous Sonoma

Castello di Amoroso
Sunday afternoon we headed to San Francisco. We spent most of our time there walking around and being huge tourists. I had to wear a sweater the whole time - it was in the 50s! We only had about a little over a day to enjoy San Francisco, so we took advantage of Fisherman's Wharf and Union Square near our hotel. Here are a few pictures from our time in San Francisco.
Sea lions at Pier 39. I wanted to bring one home!

One of the weirdest/coolest/proudest moments of the trip. We stopped in this random bar during Happy Hour and I immediately saw a He's Not bumper sticker. It turned out to be the official Alumni bar in San Fran. I proceeded to get really emotional and tell the Irish bartender (who'd never been to NC) all about beautiful Chapel Hill and the greatest school in the universe. (And of course, slipped in a Shammond and TJ reference!)

San Fran is a little different. We're friendly here in the South, but apparently in San Fran people think  you are automatic best friends. Later, this lovely fellow got kicked out of the restaurant and taunted everyone from the street window.

We had so much fun walking around Pier 39!
We left bright and early Tuesday morning (my birthday!) for the return trip. It was bittersweet - I absolutely adored California (especially wine country), but did miss the comforts and people of home. Most of my wonderful friends and family gave me money for my birthday to help fund the West Coast vacay (goodness gracious, California, you make Raleigh look like the dollar store), but there were a few surprises when I got home!

A Bailey Box from my too generous and amazing friends at Bailey's

The biggest surprise of them all: an Ippolita ring (now dubbed my official football ring) that I've been wanting since early in the year. Thanks Mom. :) Isn't it gorgeous?

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