Intermission: 10 on Tuesday

See other people’s answers to the questions over at RootsAndRings.

1. What colour are your toenails painted?  It is called “William Tell Me About OPI” which is a really dark eggplant color.  I was in LOVE with “Lincoln Park After Dark” for the longest time and all of a sudden I haven’t been able to find it anywhere.   This one is really close.  Might be even better. 

2. What colour are your fingernails painted?
Not painted.  I recently discovered that I love the look of having my nails painted, but it chips too quickly, and I am incapable of painting my right hand myself without looking like a 3 year old did it for me.. so they are very rarely painted 😦

3. What is your favourite brand of nail polish? OPI, but I don’t own any. I  just choose it at nail salons.

4. As the norm, do you DIY your nails or get mani/pedis? I try to keep up with pedis… but occassionally do my toes myself.  However, as noted above, not capable of DIYing my fingernails.

5. Have you ever had a gel mani? Do you recommend it?  Fake nails?  Yes.  And while I liked the look at the time, I do not recommend it at all because it DESTROYED my nail beds for awhile.   My nails looked so gross for awhile after taking the fake nails off.  And according to this article I read the other day, fake nails are considered tacky these days.  There you go, ladies. 

6. What is the last movie you watched on television?  Finally watched Slumdog Millionaire last night.  Very good movie.  Sad, but good.

7. What is the last movie you watched in the cinema?  I think it was Bridesmaids with Dave.  I laughed so hard I was snorting and crying repeatedly.   Not the best idea so early in our dating relationship, but he hasn’t broken up with me yet 😉

8. Is there a movie that everyone talks about as if it is a classic but you haven’t seen?
If we are talking ACTUAL classics, I’ve seen most of them.. I can’t think of one off the top of my head that I haven’t seen.  However, if we are talking movies from the 90s on, there are a ton I haven’t seen.  Basically, there is about an 80% chance that if you say “Have you seen X movie?”  (where X equals a well known movie made since 1990) the answer will be “No.”  I am not sure what I have been doing with my life, but apparently not watching a ton of TV.  Plus, I tend to sleep through movies so even if a movie was on, I probably slept through it.  Although I stayed awake for ALL of Slumdog Millionaire last night.  So proud of myself!

9. What is your favourite movie soundtrack?
I’ve only purchased one in my life.. .It was for My Best Friend’s Wedding and the songs on the tape (it was back in the days of TAPES people!) were not the same versions as on the movie which I found very disappointing.  Haven’t purchased a soundtrack since.  However, I really liked the soundtrack on Slumdog Millionaire last night. 

10. Have you ever seen a movie and thought it was better than the book it was based on? 
I haven’t… pretty sure it’s not possible because movies don’t allow for the type of detail and development that books do.  However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t love the movies despite the differences.  For example, I LOVED the C.S. Lewis movies.


Long Overdue: San Francisco Part II- Down Came the Rain and Washed The Dark Wash Out.

After our trip to Alcatraz, we rented bikes for an 8 mile bike ride from Fisherman’s Wharf, across the Golden Gate Bridge, and down to Sausalito.  Our plan was to have lunch in Sausalito, and then catch a ferry back to the Wharf.

This is what Sausalito looks like on a sunny day

As is evident from some of the pictures from our adventure to Alcatraz, it was a sunny, beautiful day.  The PERFECT day for a bike ride across the Golden Gate.  So we rented bikes and we were off.  I know a lot of people who go to San Francisco for the first time want to drive across the Golden Gate.  Getting to bike across the bridge was so fun!  We stopped for a lot of photo ops along the way.





At the point where we took this photo, we had been stuck behind a tour group of people riding SEGWAYS.  Really? Lazy man’s walking tour I guess.  People, do not go to San Francisco and ride a segway around.


By the time we reached this point, it was like “…where did all those clouds come from?” But you know, it’s a bay, clouds roll in, it gets foggy, etc.  I really wasn’t worried about it at all.  Overall the bike ride was beautiful.  And I’m an Oregon girl so I can find beauty in a cloudy day 😉  Our bike ride was along the shore the whole time up until this point, and I just couldn’t get over how beautiful it all was, and how happy I was to be riding a bike in such a beautiful place instead of working 😉

Right about here is when the bike ride got a little tougher because we had to go up a pretty steep hill to get up to cross the Golden Gate.  Pretty sure I walked my bike for part of the time, but my memory is hazy.  Dave is hardcore, I don’t think the hill phased him at all.

Once we got up to the bridge, the wind was a little much so I finally put my sweatshirt on.   We stopped about halfway across to take pictures.

Right after we took these pictures, something crazy happened.  All of a sudden, there were little water droplets hitting my sunglasses.   Just a couple, and then it got to the point I had to take my glasses off because I couldn’t see.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have sunglass wipers?  Why hasn’t anyone invented that?  Oh, probably because it usually doesn’t go from sunny to pouring down rain in a span of 5 minutes when you are halfway across a bridge with no hope of turning back.  Right.

By the time we reached the other side of the bridge, it was pouring.  We sought shelter at a rest stop and considered whether we should wait it out, turn back, or keep going.

I tried to get Dave to make a pouty face with me.  I don’t think he quite understands what a pouty face is.

After waiting it out for a bit, we decided it likely wasn’t going to stop and we might as well continue on to Sausalito (the closer location) and catch a ferry back to the Wharf.  It was a bit scary riding downhill in the rain (and without helmets), but we tried to keep it slow and steady.  The rain was nice and steady too 😉  We were completely soaked.  I was wearing skinny jeans which was a poor choice for biking in any event, but especially when they were completely soaked.  It was so hard to move my legs.  And when I say soaked… I had a puddle in my pants, y’all.  And it rained so much it washed some of the dark wash out of my jeans.  There are permanent lines where the color washed out.  My TOMs shrunk.  (Note: they have since stretched out again.  Thank goodness. I love those shoes!).

By the time we made it down, tons of other bike riders were already there waiting in line for the ferry so we got in line.  I am not sure how long we had to wait in line, but it was over an hour and it was still pouring the entire time.  Dave watched the bikes for a few minutes while I sloshed through the rain into a coffee shop and got us two coffees and two giant cookies.  At this point we had ran down the pier, walked all over Alcatraz, and biked 8 miles since breakfast.  I was HUNGRY.  And since we weren’t exactly in any condition to sit down at a restaurant, we were going to have to wait for more food until we got back to our hotel and changed.

Some people found the situation very humorous (including Dave and I), and some people were acting like it was the end of the world.  I actually kept my cool until a point where we had been standing there FOREVER with our bikes, and a new ferry came and the guy was letting all of the people without bikes, who had been standing there for 5 minutes, pass us to get on first.   I started losing my cool a little bit in that moment because we had been waiting for so long and we were soo wet.  I was also hungry.  And wet.  And cold. Did I mention the wet part?  But I held it together 😉  I managed to find a heater inside and stood right in front of it.  Who cares about the rest of the sad, wet souls on the ferry?  Not this girl.  I was keeping the heater for myself.

(Technically everyone else chose to sit instead of stand, and weren’t 8 feet tall like me, so they couldn’t have reached the heater anyway.  For once my height was a perk!)

I am not 100% certain but I am pretty sure the rain stopped right about the time that the ferry pulled away from Sausalito.  Once we were back at the Wharf, we returned our bikes, and stopped in a few stores around Union Square to find new clothes for Dave because he was wearing the only warm clothes he brought with him, which were now soaked.  We also stopped by a pizza place for a personal pizza to go so we could have a snack to hold us over until we could get changed and get to a real restaurant for dinner.

For some reason we didn’t manage to take any pictures of our complete soakedness.  However, within about 15 minutes of returning to the hotel room, we were dressed and ready to head out for dinner.  You couldn’t even tell I had just been soaked to the bone.


Dave found a recommendation for a french place on Yelp called Cafe Claude.  It turned out it was also in an alley like the place we’d went the night before.  And this time we sat outside.  The food was delicious and the setting was fantastic.  We just don’t have places to eat like that in L.A.  (little alleys that take you right back to Europe).  At least not that I know about, and according to the lady at the table next to me, who had about 30 years on me, L.A. doesn’t have places like that.  So there you have it 😉


Next up, our trip to Napa for the wine train, and hike in Muir Woods 🙂



Long Overdue: San Francisco Part I- We Went to Jail.

I have wanted to go to San Francisco for years and just never made it out there.  How could anyone not want to visit the Tanner family’s hometown? 😉

I found this picture of random strangers online, because I didn’t actually visit this famous street.  But pretty much everyone should remember this from the opening credits of Full House, and you might even be singing, “everywhere you look, everywhere you looook..” right now.  I know I am.  In my attempt to find a decent picture of that street to post here, I came across something awesome.  Apparently it is widely believed that the Tanners lived in one of these houses, but they didn’t.  Apparently some people believe it is one of the biggest myths in our culture.  Check out that link, the post is hilarious.  So apparently the Tanners did not actually live in one of these houses, but liked to picnic on the lawn across the street.  Consider yourselves informed people.

Anyway… So finally, Memorial Day weekend, I was still dating the guy from the Catalina trip, Dave, (still am), and we decided to go together.  We booked a hotel, and we were off.  We decided to drive because we had plans to go to Napa and the Muir Woods, so we figured it made the most sense to just bring one of our cars.

Our drive up was very uneventful–no trauma like I had experienced with Meghan.  When we arrived we checked in at our hotel, The Sir Francis Drake.  The hotel was beautiful, the location was fantastic, the staff were amazing.  However, two complaints: this is a historic hotel, so the walls are PAPER THIN.  Expect to hear every word your neighbors say.  We did.  Also, valet parking is like $60/day (?!).  So don’t bring your car… or park it somewhere else.  We ended up just parking there because we got a great rate on the hotel ($150/night), and didn’t know what else to do.  But I still feel a little bitter about it.  REALLY, Sir Francis?  REALLY?!  On the bright side, an awesome doorman in the kind of doorman suits I’ve only seen on movies and in NYC helped us with our bags from the car.  Almost made it worth it.  Almost.

The first afternoon/night was pretty relaxing.  We just walked around Union Square for some shopping, and then found a little pub to sit down and have an appetizer while we tried to figure out what to do for dinner.  We found several recommendations on Yelp, but when we walked to the restaurants they were empty.  I’m just not a big fan of being the only couple in a restaurant.  I always feel awkward like we’re not supposed to be there.  So Dave kept looking, and eventually found a recommendation for a tapas place.  It turned out it was on this cute little alley/street that was very reminiscent of Europe.  There were several restaurants on the street, but we went to B44 for tapas.  The restaurant looked cool inside, it was packed, and the food was delicious.  Perfecto.

Deep thoughts in the Pub... What to have for dinner? ... Hmmm...

How about a little slice of Europe in San Francisco? Yes, I think that will do.

Where are we? I hope they still take American dollars here!

Mmmm... Spanish tapas ❤

The next morning we had reservations for a ferry ride to Alcatraz.  We originally planned to take the trolley down to Fisherman’s Wharf, but we started walking, originally to find a Starbucks without such a ridiculously long line, and we didn’t see another Starbucks until we ultimately reached the Wharf.  Of course, we had decided to just walk the whole way anyway long before we ultimately made it down there.  Choosing to walk to the Wharf is something you really have to commit to because GOOD LORD those hills are HILLY.   But the views at each intersection were amazing.

And as a result of walking we happened to walk past the famous crooked street.

Down at the Wharf we found a great little place to have breakfast called Pergamino (I just used google maps to “walk” down the streets of San Francisco to figure that out.  Yayyy technology!).  We sat at a table outside, and the waiter was great.  I had the smoked turkey omelette.   Let me tell you, it was a party in my mouth.  My mouth is watering right now just thinking about it.  I can’t remember what Dave had but it was also delicious.  They also let you pick out your own mug to use for coffee and have a ton of different kinds to choose from.  I don’t remember which coffee we chose, but it was also delicious.  If you go to SF, go there.  Do it.  I hear all the food is awesome.

Dave's mug choice. That's right... He's mine ladies 😉

Afterward, we started walking down to the actual wharf to get down to the pier where we would catch the ferry to Alcatraz.  We had plenty of time when we started, but we made a few stops for Dave to buy sunglasses, and me to buy a sweatshirt in case the ferry ride was cold.  That sweatshirt would come in very handy later in the day, but that’s a story for another post 😉  Due to our shopping detours, suddenly we realized we only had about 10 minutes until our ferry was supposed to depart, and had to RUN down the street quite a ways to make it.  We were at Pier 47 and our ferry left from just past Pier 35 which may not sound far, but it sure felt far, especially given that I hadn’t worked out in… who knows how long.  Not fair that my military boyfriend is forced to stay in shape and left me in the dust.  But alas, we made it.  I made it, huffing and puffing, but I made it.

Pulling away from the pier.

The ferry ride was beautiful.  You can see all of downtown and the golden gate bridge, and lots of sailboats out and about.  I was snapping pictures like crazy with my iPhone. Somehow we both forgot to bring real cameras, but the pics from my iPhone tend to turn out pretty good as long as I don’t need zoom and there is plenty of light.

Approaching "The Rock" aka Alcatraz.

On Alcatraz Island, you have to walk up some fairly steep switchbacks to get to the prison and take the self-guided tour (you get headphones that tell you interesting facts while you walk along.. is that still “self-guided”? I don’t know).  The tour was really interesting and highly recommended.  Before going, I would recommend watching Clint Eastwood’s “Escape from Alcatraz.”   It was filmed at Alcatraz shortly after it was shut down, and is based on a true escape story.

Even if history and prisons aren’t your thing, it’s still worth it just because it’s a fun little island to explore and the views are amazing.  Apparently the hardest of hard criminals got sent there.  Maybe the ocean view would suck if you knew everyday it was that pesky ocean trapping you on the island forever, but in my mind I was like “this wouldn’t be a bad place to be locked up.”  Except for the part where I was too tall for the prison cells.  It would get annoying having to duck all the time 😉

After returning from Alcatraz, we rented bikes and went on what turned out to be a fairly epic bike ride.  But that is a story for another day!  In separate posts, I also plan to recap our bike ride, our trip to Muir Woods, and our Napa Valley Wine Train ride.  Stay tuned 🙂

Sailboats on the way back to San Francisco

Intermission: Musings re My Lawyer Life.

Although I rarely seem to find the time to sit down and write long posts about things, my faceboook status updates do not suffer in their frequency, even in my busiest times.  I decided I should try to preserve some of these here.  So here you go, a random fairly recent splattering of recent work/life balance updates from Facebook:

  • ever wonder what is exciting in the lives of lawyers? [Coworker], expressing excitement regarding his new office monitor: “It is the most amazing thing in the world. I may never leave. . . . I think it’s visible from space.”
  • while reviewing documents for work, I sometimes forget the task at hand and find myself looking a “reply” button so I can correct the person’s grammar and/or misunderstandings of basic legal terms. What is involved in “set[ting] a prescient”? What does “and so forwards” mean?
  • [Quote from hearing transcript]: Lawyer: I’ll be brief. Judge: Yes, exceptionally brief. You’re done. Lawyer: Yes, exceptionally brief–I just have two points. Judge: No. You are done. What part of ‘you’re done’ don’t you understand? Sit down counsel. …. OUCH!
  • first day of work in awhile where I have not felt like quitting and taking up a job at the zoo 😉
  • in tonight’s episode of work/life balance, I just took a break from work to do dishes and iron placemats (?!). I really need to get back to blogging. The world needs to know about all of this excitement 😉
  • not cool when the emails in my doc review are discussing a sale at Banana Republic. So tempting to stop reviewing and go shopping!
  • I know I’ve mentioned my brain’s lack of functioning before, but I’m really starting to think a majority of my brain cells did not just take a vacation but have in fact abandoned me completely.
  • decided to mix baking banana bread into my all night doc review and outlining party. Also added “do not eat all of banana bread” to my task list for the night 😉
  • I feel like this job is making me into a bipolar crazy person. I was completely happy and content yesterday afternoon, and today I’m tetering on the edge of a Michael Clayton-style conference room breakdown. Deep breaths
  • Because I rock at work-life balance, I just took a break to translate “Who let those little dogs out?” from English to Spanish. Obviously, the ability to quote a Will Ferrell skit in Spanish is important to my sanity and general well-being. (For the record, apparently its “que permiten que los pequeños perros fuera?”)
  •  successfully created a cookie budget for today (i.e. hit the gym), which will come in useful the long work night this is bound to be. 😉
  • in tonight’s edition of the exciting life and times of Michelle, I am currently working in PJs at 10pm eating goldfish and baby carrots for dinner.
  • watching Legally Blonde for the 100th time is definitely what I should be doing right now.
  •  sad times… the doc review system will be down from 11p-3a. Whatever will I do besides review docs during that time? I’m at a loss….
  • ah, morning… Time to get beat at the gym by my mom again and then proceed to work the rest of the hours into the late night. It is an exciting life I lead 😉
  • continue working or watch “Bridezillas: where are they now?” My life is full of such tough decisions 😉
  • my brain is set to explode in T-5 minutes.
  • today my job consists of figuring out what is meant by such confusing terms as “some control” and “primary actor.” See, being a lawyer IS as awesome as it seems on TV 😉
  • I’ve had people ask me about work I’ve done on two different cases last December, and I had no recollection of it. All signs are pointing to the fact that I am in fact a very old lady trapped in a 27 year old’s body.
  •  what if I don’t want to work OR bang my drum all day? Is there a third option? Please advise.
  • spending a thrilling Friday night drafting a way overdue executive summary that I just can’t find the will to write. Dear College Michelle, you wrote 20 page papers in one night. Please come back to me for just one night and help me get this done. Kthx 😉
  • unfortunately College Michelle did not visit me last night. Senior Citizen Michelle visited me instead.
  • kind of missing the good old days when I had a functioning brain. Dear Brain Cells, it’s been a few months. Let’s get back in touch.
  • I was just having a dream where something kept buzzing and I was frantically tearing my apartment apart to figure out what it was. I then woke up and realized I was laying on my cell phone, which had been buzzing with about 10 new emails coming in between 12:30a and 4:30a. Ahhhh, being a lawyer… 😉
Ok, that was probably overkill but definitely enough for now.   Exciting, right?  I should note that those are only work-related updates (I do occasionally also update about my dog and travel adventures but those are subjects for other times).

Long Overdue Part II: Catalina, an Epic First Date.

I have actually been to Catalina twice before–once for a weekend and once for just a day trip.  However, both trips were work-sponsored trips with coworkers.  I always thought it would be a fun place to go for a day with a date.  And back in April, I finally got my chance.

I felt a little hesistant about posting about my Catalina trip here, because it wasn’t just any date, it was for a first date.  What kind of crazy person traps themselves on an island for 10+ hours on a first date?  This girl.  In hindsight, besides the lack of wisdom in not providing an exit strategy (if I didn’t like the guy, I was stuck with him for 10 hours instead of 1 or 2 for the traditional coffee or lunch date), it was also unwise for safety reasons.  I “met” him through an online dating service, so technically we had never met in person.  He was a stranger.  And ladies, we should all know that hopping on a boat to go off to an island with a complete stranger is not a good idea.  However, we had been communicating for about 3 weeks at that point.  Two solid weeks of daily, lengthy emails followed by a solid week of daily, multi-hour talks on the phone.  After so many emails and 3-4+ hours of talking on the phone per day, he didn’t feel like a stranger to me at all.  Basically, and I know this is crazy, I was already falling pretty hard for the guy so my thought process was that a long day date would be perfect, so I could see if we could actually put up with each other before I fell any further 😉

So alas, there I was on the morning of Saturday, April 30th, exhausted from our late night chat, excited at the possibility of spending a fun day out on Catalina, and a nervous wreck at the thought of finally meeting this guy.  For some reason it did not dawn on me until that morning that maybe he wouldn’t like me or maybe I wouldn’t like him or maybe he would be super shy in person and how awkward that would be to be stuck together all day (However, still not worried about the safety issue).   I couldn’t stand to eat, but I grabbed some fresh cut mango slices to bring with me just in case I gained my appetite back. 

As soon as we found each other at the dock, I felt totally comfortable and normal.  He didn’t feel like a stranger at all, and it didn’t feel like a first date at all.  I instantly felt hungry, and opened up the mangos.  I remember offering him some, and he claims I ate most of them and only let him have a couple.  I WAS HUNGRY PEOPLE.  So anyway, all was well. 

We took the Catalina Express out of Long Beach around 9:30am.  It takes around an hour, and I think costs about $35 each way.  But it’s TOTALLY worth it.  It really feels like you are getting away for an island vacation, even if just for a day.  I don’t think it’s possible to pull up to the harbor and not feel excited.  Oh, and on the way over we saw a huge pod of dolphins swimming along the side of the boat.  I’ve never seen so many dolphins at once. 

Since I had been to Catalina before, I ended up being the tour guide for the day.  We started with lunch at Steve’s Steakhouse.  I had been there twice before, and loved it because it overlooks the harbor, has a nice, laidback atmosphere, and has great, reasonably priced food.   (The photo above was from our table). 

Afterward, we walked off our lunch by walking down the boardwalk all the way past the casino and to the beach at the far end.  By the way, do not be led astray Vegas fans, the casino in Catalina features a movie theater, not gambling.  But the town of Avalon is just so quaint and cute!  And walking down the boardwalk just reminds you that there is SO much to do!  You can lay out on the beach, play in the water, go kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, you can go out on boat tours of the water, bus tours of the island, hiking, backpacking, and most recently they have added an awesome zipline.   I definitely want to go back for a weekend sometime and do more of the active stuff.  I am trying to work up the nerve to try the zipline.  It’s ok mom 😉

Anyway, after our walk it was time to head back to the main pier to board a bus for our tour.  When I came as a summer associate, we went on a tour on a bus that was AWESOME.  It takes you way up into the mountains and to Catalina’s “Airport in the Sky.”   The tour guide tells you all kinds of interesting facts and history about the island and the views are AMAZING.  Also, the cookies at the airport gift shop = HEAVEN.   AND, you get to see buffalo!  Since I loved the tour so much the first time, and my date was (still is) a pilot, I bought us tickets to the tour as a little surprise.  It was just as great the second time around.  

Once we got back from the tour, we strolled around the town of Avalon for a little while (off the boardwalk area), and checked out the beach houses.

Then found a place to sit down for a drink and relax for awhile.   I can’t remember the name of the place but it had outdoor seating overlooking the water.  I am always a fan of water views 🙂

For dinner we picked a place that ended up being a bit of a bummer: The Lobster Trap.  It has great reviews online, and the food was pretty good, but something was just off.  I don’t know if it was just an off night in terms of the ambiance or what.  Maybe later at night it gets really lively or something, I don’t know.  But honestly, to me it just felt like a hole-in-the-wall bar with white-table-cloth prices.   If I’m eating at a “hole in the wall” place, the point is that the food is supposed to be delicious and cheap.  But there, while the seating and general ambiance reminded me of a bingo hall, our dinners were somewhere around $25 each.  Maybe that is cheap for dinner in Catalina.. I don’t know.  Anyway, I was not a fan.  On the bright side, we both still had fun.

After dinner it was pretty much time to head back to the dock and take the boat home.  It was SO cold on the ride back.  Note to self: if you are taking a night shuttle back, bring a hoodie or coat.  Despite the coldness, the ride back is nice too because you can watch the sunset as you ride back to the mainland.  I highly recommend picking the sunset ride back 😉 

When we finally made it back and dethawed, neither of us were quite ready to go our separate ways yet.  So we looked up a local wine bar in Long Beach, and we drove over there together in my car to have a glass of wine and chat a little more.  We closed the wine bar down.  They didn’t kick us out but I eventually noticed they were closing down around us.  When I drove him back to his car at the pier, everything had been locked down, including the parking garage.  Luckily, we were able to track down an on-call security guard to get his car out, and we parted ways.  But lesson learned–don’t go gallivanting off to Long Beach with your car at the Long Beach landing.

NOTE: All pictures (except for first one) were actually taken on a prior trip to Catalina.

Long Overdue: Napa, in which we had Mexican Food and Fudge Grahams.

Long, long ago, in a time called Mid-April 2011, two ridiculously overworked L.A. lawyers found themselves with a weekend off at the same time, and journeyed to the far away land of Napa, California.

Ok, so I can’t really write this whole thing in storybook form.  But yes, after about 4.5 years of living in California (and many, many times of driving through Northern CA but never stopping), I finally made it up to Napa.  In fact, in the April-May time frame I took a lot of trips to places around California and realized I had been MISSING OUT on fun weekend get-away ideas for nearly 5 years.  But this post is just about Napa.  And I highly recommend a weekend getaway to Napa to pretty much anyone who appreciates beautiful scenery and good food.  (However, if you are looking for wild, fast-paced party-city type environment, Napa is probably not the place for you).

The drive to Napa is around 6 hours.  Some people drive from L.A., some people fly.   You can get tickets for like $59 each way (+tax) and it’s a quick flight (compared to the 6 hour drive).  However, if you fly you have to rent a car to drive out to Napa, and worry about luggage/taking wine back/etc.   Personally, we wanted the flexibility of time and being able to go wherever we wanted, and we also wanted to shop and buy wine and not have to worry about fitting things into our luggage to get back.  (And honestly, even with gas prices at the time overall it was cheaper to drive and despite being well paid lawyers we both love a bargain).  So we drove.

Unfortunately, our drive up was fairly traumatic involving a failed attempt to rescue a stray dog on the freeway and witnessing a road rage incident resulting in a car flipping multiple times and landing upside down.  Needless to say, by the time we reached Napa we were ready for some therapy.   If our mental states from our job wasn’t enough of an excuse, that car ride put us (or at least me) over the edge.

Before engaging in multiple forms of therapy, we stopped to check in at our hotel- The Ivy Hotel Napa.  It’s a newly renovated Best Western Plus hotel.  Not in the center of the action, but the price was great, the decor was gorgeous, and my two favorite words: complimentary breakfast.  I highly recommend this hotel, unless you want to be able to walk to things besides Mexican food and a convenience store (more on that later).

So after unloading, we were off to begin our therapy.

First form of therapy?  Retail therapy.   That’s right, our first stop (after the hotel) was the Napa outlets.  Mucho dollars were spent.  Matching outfits were acquired.  (Not intentionally, we just like a lot of the same clothes).

Second form of therapy?  Mexican food at the restaurant in the parking lot of our hotel.   Yes, we drove SIX HOURS to WINE COUNTRY which is known for amazing food and wine, to down chips and salsa and margaritas at some random Mexican joint next to our hotel a la Dennys & Days Inn.  You know what?  It was delicious.  And we enjoyed it 🙂

Third form of therapy?  Purchase cheap bottle of wine and fudge grahams from the convenience store on the other side of the hotel, and retreat to our room to relax and watch a movie.  That’s right, we know how to keep it classy.   This is making it people:


The next day, however, we were legit Napa visitors.  We had scheduled a wine tour with Platypus tours.  It picked us up at our hotel in the morning, and we spent the day with 4 or 5 couples.  Clearly more of a couple thing to do, but our tour group and guide were fantastic and it didn’t feel awkward at all.  Unfortunately, since we were not a couple, we did not opt as many of the couples did to share their tastings.  So we may or may not have ended up consuming a little too much wine.   But the tour was great and so worth it.  We got a beautiful drive through the valley and learned a lot of fun facts from our guide, visited four wineries, lunch and snacks were included.

I would definitely recommend a guided tour.  It’s a great intro to the area and nice to not have to worry about driving.  However, I wish we had an extra day so we could spend the next day driving around and checking out places on our own.  So that would be my recommendation to other Napa visitors… plan a tour and plan for a day that you can travel around on your own.

Now, I’m too tired to continue with details, but here are some pics.  All are taken with my iPhone which doesn’t completely do it justice, but the iPhone camera ain’t bad 😉

And lastly, one of me and my faithful companion 😉