Happy Winery Wednesday everyone!
A few weeks ago I traveled to Santa Barbara with some amazing friends to explore the town and go wine tasting. I had an unbelievable time and I really loved every moment of our trip, including the 10 hour car ride! A big “thank you” to Spotify, Taco Bell, and all the Starbucks coffee! The day we left we woke up at 3:00am to leave the house to start driving down the California coast…talk about early!
Our first stop was brunch at the delicious restaurant, Scarlett Begonia, in downtown Santa Barbara. Our friend Elle (@themodernpour go follow her wine adventures!) recommended we add this restaurant to our list for brunch and I must say it was SO GOOD, just look at the quinoa oatmeal…YUM!. They had a lively outdoor courtyard with some great brunch options, and not to mention all of the puppies that people brought there as well!
Our next stop was the Grassini Family Vineyards tasting room in Downtown Santa Barbara. The courtyard where Grassini is located is filled with a lot of tasting rooms! If only we had more time to explore them all (maybe next trip!) The tasting flight we had was the “Estate Flight” that featured their selection of Cabernet Sauvignon, red blend, and Sauvignon Blanc. (Shoutout to Cat from @bythestem for the recommendation!
Grassini Family Vineyards has the downtown tasting room and also a beautiful winery in Happy Canyon (the eastern edge of Santa Ynez Valley). While we were driving around the valley the next day we had the chance to visit their winery estate. The peaceful grounds of the winery were gorgeous and they even had a small pound tucked away on the side of the property amongst the vineyards. Talk about a great place to sip on some great wine.
After our first tasting we headed over to the Sanford Winery tasting room only a few blocks away. (I loved how there were so many tasting rooms all within walking distance, it reminded me so much of Downtown Napa!) The Sanford tasting room was intimate and a great environment to enjoy some wine. The pricing for each tasting selection is very reasonable and includes some incredible wine. Sanford Wineries also as a vineyard property in the Sta. Rits Hills in Santa Barbara County. This winery has been producing wine from these vineyards for over forty years, one of the most historic wineries in the valley! Definitely check them out when you are in the area! (shoutout to @tonyandthetravelingwineglass for the recommendation!)
Overall, we had a fantastic trip and I am really looking forward to going back soon to share more wine adventures. Have a great Wednesday everyone!
If you have been following along with my stories and Instagram, you know I recently visited Chicago for the first time! I was so excited to finally be in “The Windy City.”
Even though I was visiting Chicago for a work conference, I was determined to make the most of my trip and stay a few extra days to explore the city. However, I started to feel a little under the weather the first day (ugh!) but I still tried to enjoy my trip even though I did not get to see everything I wanted to.
I stayed at the beautiful Hyatt Regency Chicago near Michigan Ave. in Downtown Chicago. The hotel was amazing with a large open lobby and the fun “BIG Bar” located on the second floor. The food was great and it was an awesome environment for my first trip.
For dinner one evening I went to the highly recommended “Cindy’s Rooftop” in downtown. This restaurant is located on the 13th floor of the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel and has a pretty awesome rooftop area with three firepits. When we arrived it started to rain so we did not stay outside too long, but the view was amazing. Inside they had a fun open area for dinning with big communal farm style tables. I enjoyed some bubbles and delicious Bolognese pasta.
One morning I strolled down Michigan Ave. where there is some pretty great shopping. I really loved how the streets were decorated for the holidays and it seemed like every store had a Christmas tree up. With the brisk cold air that morning it really felt like winter and I was ready to do some Christmas shopping.
Afterwards I headed to Millennium Park where I checked off my touristy photo with “The Bean.” Surprisingly, it was not that crowded in the morning and it was so pretty to just walk around. Later that day I had to try my first Chicago deep dish pizza at Giordanos and I must say it was DELICIOUS. There was no way I could finish the small individual pizza on my own as it was so filling, but I definitely recommend going to Giordanos if you are visiting Chicago.
Another great place I went to was the “Eataly” also in downtown Chicago and walking distance from the hotel. Although I did not get any photos of this place (total fail) I really wanted to write about it as it was so fun. They have different small restaurants all in one big area. Downstairs they had a market for shopping to buy some products including some great wine! The atmosphere was great and a perfect environment to go for a glass of wine or a full dinner with friends.
I had such an amazing time in Chicago for the short amount of time I was there. I definitely plan to visit again soon, hopefully in the summer months!
Bonjour et bienvenue!
(Good day and welcome!)
Ahhh, French..one of the most beautiful and romantic languages in the world. To begin my love and passion for Paris, I need to start from the beginning…
I have always loved to travel growing up and I had the greatest desire to travel abroad my whole life. I dreamed of experiencing another culture, another language, and places I had never seen before. Getting the amazing opportunity to meet new people and learn new things was something I longed for.
Last year I had the incredible opportunity to fulfill my dream and travel to Europe for the first time for my 25 birthday! This trip had changed my life and my passion for traveling only grew. This past May I chose to pack my bags once again and jet off back to Paris.
As soon as I stepped of the train in Paris (I trained in from London after my flight) the feeling of excitement and exploration filled my heart once again. The first time I went to Paris we were only there for three days and man did it fly by! This time I was going to be ready. We had a somewhat planned itinerary and list of things we wanted to see while we adventured through the city eating croissants and sipping espresso. This time I had prepared and I had been studying French for months. Listening to podcasts, music, reading books, making flashcards, and I even took a French course at the community center. I was doing everything I could to immerse myself in French culture before I arrived.
And even though I was only able to communicate with the locals a little bit (and when I say little, I mean barely just getting through the basics of starting a conversation before asking if they could speak English), I was still in no way prepared for the feeling of being fully immersed into another country, another world. Everything from the language, the food, the fashion, how people interacted with one another, the transportation, the breathtaking architecture, my list could continue on and on. This feeling of experiencing all of these new things, and my heart was loving it.
As I continue to add more to my growing blog, I will be diving into more detail of my amazing experiences and travel tips for when visiting Paris.