May you…

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May you wear polka dotted dresses, and dance through the wildflowers.
May you never stop seeking joy.
May you understand, it’s only temporary.
May you stop and take in your glorious surroundings – wherever you are.
May you have peace knowing you were uniquely made to be you.
May you feel God’s indescribable peace, in the midst of war.
May you trust there is something bigger than you, that loves you.  Yes, you.
May you feel peace when you’re alone, and rejoice that you will be just fine.
May you grasp, though beyond understanding, it is how it is meant to be.
May you realize you command your destiny through your words.
May you smile, even through the heartbreak.
May you know it will get better when you decide it will.
May you know, this is the day the Lord had made, rejoice and be glad in it.

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The best sundae EVER

Heaven. Also know as the Rim Trail from the Red Hut Cafe in South Lake Tahoe
Two scoops of vanilla ice cream
Hot fudge
Melted peanut butter
Whipped cream
Cherries
Pretzels

It’s so good it even got its own post!

Russian River Wine Tasting

Another post about my jaunts in wine country…

Today was absolutely lovely!  We only tasted at 2 spots – but they both were wonderful!

Stop #1: Korbel Champagne Cellers

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$9 for a bottle of delicious Champagne!  I bought the Brut Rose.  YUM!

FREE Champagne tasting!  Everything I had was delicious, and the place is beautiful.  They also have a little market to buy snacks from to picnic.  Bottles of Champagne average around $14!  Can’t beat it.  Also, for my fellow military folks, they generously offer 25% off purchased.

Stop #2: Lunch at Russian River Pub 

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As seen on Diners, Drive ins & Dives.  Feeling a little perked from Korbel, we wanted something hearty and delicious.  We had reservations elsewhere, but decided to give this one a go, and we’re super glad we did!

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And the best spot yet…..♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Stop #3: Russian River Vineyards

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Don’t take this lightly… you MUST go here.  This place, and the staff, has left me with feelings of packing up life and moving to Forestville.  It’s tranquil, quaint, delicious, darling… it’s everything you want.  The grounds are gorgeous, the wine is decadent and they have a delicious looking menu (we were too full to eat!).  They too are generous to us military folks by offering complimentary tasting and 10% off purchases.  A must go.

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’twas a beautiful day and a beautiful drive.  So blessed to live this close to paradise!  God is good friends, God is good.

Touring London in 2 days!

Me and my sweets in front of the London Eye

Me and my sweets in front of the London Eye

Believe it or not, it can be done!  I’d encourage my fellow travelers to allow an extra day or two if time allows, but if not, put on your running shoes 🙂   For me, traveling to Europe has to include multiple stops.  In planning an Ireland vacation, we decided to add an extra 2 days to stop off in London. I think we had a total of 40 hours or so in London … it was a whirlwind, but we hit a lot of the major destinations and had a blast!

Evening 1:

After landing in the afternoon, checking in and freshening up – we hit the town!  My partner had friends in London – so we met somewhere near the Westminster Tube, strolled around and grabbed a bite, and got to see River Thames, Big Ben & the House of Parliament (Palace of Westminster) and the London Eye as evening set in.  We strolled around and stumbled upon the Sherlock Holmes Pub which was exactly what I pictured a London pub to be like – young drunks stumbling out, the interior smelling of sweet old beer, and a charming exterior!

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Silhouette of Big Ben & House of Parliament

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London Eye, Big Ben & River Thames

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Sherlock Holmes Pub

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Big Ben

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Day 2:

I too have a friend in England – about an hour and a half outside of London, whom I haven’t seen in 15 years.  When I told him I would be in London for 2 days, he insisted on spending some time with us.  I figured we would hang out for a few hours … but his agenda was a bit different.  We met around 8:30am and didn’t stop touring until 7:30ish… I was exhausted, but glad we got to see so many hotspots!

We started the day with the 8:00am Holy Communion Service at Westminster Abbey. It was really neat to sit in this amazing historical site and participate in such a special ceremony.  It was a quick service – and this is a free opportunity to get into the Abbey!

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The beautiful Westminster Abbey

After the service we strolled to Whitehall to watch the Horse Guards Parade, and then to Buckingham Palace for the Changing of the Guards.  Though both spots were packed with tourists – it was really neat to experience this tradition.  And yes, we took the obligatory photo with the guard.  Poor guy…

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Horse Guards Ceremony

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Changing of the Guards

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We then hit Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery.  We just peeked in so I could see an original Van Gogh – but I wish we would have spent more time there.  We grabbed a quick bite (fish & chips of course…) and were on our way.

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Trafalgar Square

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National Gallery

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Next we went to the Tate Modern museum – but just the inside’s outside…. We had to walk through the museum to get to this amazing outdoor space – with people picnicking, kids playing in the water and people sunbathing. (I’m going off memory but I think this is behind the Tate Modern…)

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Next we strolled along the River Thames, attempted to get a beverage at an overly packed bar – failed.  Enjoyed some seasoned street nuts… whatever they were, they’re delicious, and ended up at Tower Bridge.  Crossed over and saw the Tower of London (not much of a tower…), St. Paul’s Cathedral, and wrapped up our last evening with a delicious meal of Guinness stew and sausage with colcannon.  We walked over 7 miles and were completely exhausted!

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Tower Bridge

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Me and Boo – beyond exhausted at this point!

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The “Tower” of London (and my handsome beau)

St. Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul’s Cathedral

The last London Supper

The last London Supper

Final Day: 

For our final day we didn’t have to head out until noonish – so we decided to head back to Trafalgar Square, and to our joy, stumbled upon Covent Gardens.  You must go here!  We strolled through the little shops, and ended up getting some coffee & pastries and just hanging out.  Loved this spot!

Darling pastry shop in/near Covent Gardens

Darling pastry shop in/near Covent Gardens

It was a whirlwind but we had an incredible time in London!

SF Date Night! Redford & Magic

In an effort to break the cycle of lounging on the couch, watching re-runs of Big Bang Theory, I decided to plan a fun date night out in the city.

First off, I am not a city girl.  I avoid the city at all costs.  Oh, and by “city” I am referring to San Francisco.  On the other hand, my partner is a city boy, and gets giddy over the sky scrapers and city scape.  Ergo, I decided to plan a date I knew he would love.   Boo loves magic, and having never seen a magic show myself, I thought I would give it a go.  I did a simple yelp review and came across the Marrakech Magic Theater.  I figured I would give it a shot, after all, it did have 240 five-star reviews!  I purchased tickets from www.goldstar.com and saved 50%!  They only had tickets for the 9pm show – so I sought out a cool dinner spot – and was pleased with my selection.  We ended up with a corner booth at Redford – a “hipster american rustic chic” spot that we loved!

Redford

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LOVE the look of Redford!

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You HAVE to get the Antipasto plate. Have to. We didn’t even have room for dinner after this! Absolutely delicious.

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This tastes even better than it looks…

Marrakech Magic Theater

The best part is that this is a show for an intimate group.  There was maybe 25 folks in the room – and almost everyone got to assist in the show!  Was a blast and very deceiving…

IMG_0826 IMG_0832Keep the spark alive!  Plan a fun date night you know your partner will love!

Guest Blog: Confidence 101

Every so often I ask someone to write a post for my blog.  Today I asked my sweetheart to, and I love his wisdom!  It’s simple, and just makes sense!  Enjoy!

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Alex, my guest blogger, and me 🙂

I’d like to think that I dress well. I dont like to spend too much on clothes, mind you, but if I see something that I like and I can justify the cost, I’ll likely go for it. Why shouldn’t I? I work hard and I believe it’s important to reward yourself however you see fit. I often get comments on the way I dress. Most of the time it’s the typical “ooh, you look nice today.” or a variation thereof. Or sometimes I’ll get the sarcastic “wow, look at this guy”, however, I take those with a grain of salt as it usually comes from the type of guy that wears the same pair of cargo shorts 4 days a week and I don’t let that stuff bother me anyway.

In any case, the reason I mention all this to you is to explain WHY I like to dress well. Not only have I developed an appreciation for certain styles, but I firmly believe that they way you dress DIRECTLY affects how you feel and the level of confidence that you not only project, but actually have within you. Now, this is only one aspect of a source of confidence and I believe one should have several sources, but it certainly made a large impact for me

Have you ever heard the phrase “Look Good, Feel Good”? I had heard it plenty of times over the course of my life. Heck, 9 out of 10 fitness or diet infomercials will say something like it. But it never really sank in, it was more of a sales pitch than anything. It finally hit me when I was in college.

I was visiting my family and had mentioned to my sister that I wanted to…update my wardrobe. I was living out of a pair of jeans that were too big for me and a few hand-me-down shirts. So, we hit the mall to re-image me, (at the time, I was a big fan of The Mentalist and thought we should emulate that classy yet relaxed look). We ended up with a few new button-up shirts, some jeans that fit correctly, and a couple of vests.

At first I was a little nervous to dress that way in public (even though I had just laid down the money to do so). I had little in the way of confidence and thought I would get laughed at for “trying”. However, I was completely wrong. I felt, for lack of a better word, AWESOME. It was a complete 180 degree turn from where I was. I stood taller, walked faster (but not in an awkward way), looked straight ahead and felt like I had a million in cash with me. It was great! What’s better is that I got no negative reactions! I would get double takes from girls (and the occasional fellow) as well as some comments. All of this serviced to feed my inner confidence and as it did so, it would show in my appearance and attitude. It was a perpetual cycle of feeling fantastic. Since then, I have picking up new articles of clothing and developing my own style. A blazer or two here, some slacks and shoes there, and all worth every penny.

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