Tag Archives: Healdsburg

Where our story continues…my perspective.

I thought it would be special to share the story of our marriage from each of our perspectives. M has agreed to write his own post on his perspective of our wedding, too. For starters, here are mine…


Deciding to marry semi-secretly, privately, and quietly was something we almost knew we wanted to do from the day M proposed. I always joked with M that I never got the ‘wedding gene’ and he is lucky I am so even keeled about the whole thing (wink), but in honesty, we *both* shared a similar view, so it did not take a lot of convincing.

It all began last year, on our annual ‘pilgrimage’ to Healdsburg, where we were in the gardens at the house we rented, and M wrapped his arms around me from behind, and whispered in my ear…wouldn’t it be awesome to get married here? Like, right here? We weren’t even engaged yet, but in that moment, everything fell away and I just knew…if the stars aligned and we were going to marry, it would be right there, in Healdsburg.

At the time, it felt like a pipe dream.

And when M proposed a few months later, the thought crept back in. At first, I had started warming up to the idea of a small ceremony by the water where I grew up (30 mins from where we live now), or at a park, or on a beach, but the more we looked into locations, the less excited I got, and the more I wanted to break out in hives thinking about the stress of hosting a wedding. When we added up ‘just family and close friends,’ the list topped 50, and to me, that *was* a wedding and a wedding, in the traditional sense was not what either of us wanted for ourselves. To me, the thought of speaking the most personal and sacred vows in front of so many people felt daunting, far too public, and not personal. I realize my views are narrow here, and most people love bigger weddings, so if you are shaking your heads, believe me, I understand!! I love *going* to weddings. I love celebrating. But in this instance, it was simply not what we wanted.

So we landed back on Healdsburg. And the idea excited us. It just felt right. But  we also considered everything logistically and wondered…could we really pull this off? How would we do it? How would we figure out who to invite? And *would* we invite people? The last question being the toughest. We went back and forth with a lot of ideas, but after much consideration, we realized what we truly wanted was to re-live our trip last year, and just ‘throw in’ a short wedding while we were there. We just had an incredible time last year, and we didn’t want a lot of fanfare, we didn’t want to complicate it by feeling like we were ‘hosting’ family and friends that came, and we also didn’t want to burden anyone with the expense of attending a wedding 3,000 miles away. Since we had already planned this very trip for June, the starts started to align and we pulled the trigger.

We chose June 30 to get married, giving us a day-ish to settle in, do a little mini ‘rehearsal’ dinner type celebration (the most epic wine and food pairing ever, I might add, pulled off by my sister Jess!) and then get married on June 30th, giving us the remainder of the week to celebrate, enjoy and recharge. We shared our plan with family and friends, who were supportive and understanding, for the most part. One of the hardest parts for me, was knowing that this decision to marry far away would mean my sister Jen would likely not be able to attend, given my 2+ year old niece. We celebrated quite a bit beforehand, tied in FaceTime while we were away (we attempted to FaceTime her during the wedding, but the reception was too shoddy), but knowing she was there in spirit, and in heart, and in bracelet (sister bracelets we each wore from Alex and Ani, thank you sisters!!), meant the world to me.

And finally, our decision to keep our wedding largely quiet until we married? Just for fun. We liked the surprise aspect of it and seeing the excitement of it all unfold as we texted, tweeted, Facebook’d and instagram’ed details after was simply amazing 🙂 (do you have us a little now for keeping it a secret?! it was so fun!!)

We made what some may think was a hard decision…but for us, it felt the most natural and ‘us’ in respecting and honoring what *we* wanted to do most, and not what anyone else would have considered. And the day itself? Was the most relaxed, fun, happy, and emotional day of my life. I turned to M last night as we were ‘reliving’ the week through pictures and said that the wedding and the week felt like an out-of-body experience…and he nodded in agreement. It was just surreal. Perfect. Beautiful. I wouldn’t have changed a thing about our day, not even the 105 degree temperatures.

A wedding should represent the two that are marrying and our wedding represented us to a “T’ – the way it is meant to be. I sit here feeling incredibly blessed, loved, and more settled than I have ever felt. Being M’s wife (wife!!), sharing our lives together, for the rest of our lives.

As part of our vows said (I will share them in full in a later post):

“I am giving you my hand to hold, and my life to keep, from this day forward, in this world, and into the next.”

ring M

Wine Country…in fours.

I wanted to capture this trip simply in a post, because it’s far too difficult to capture how absolutely perfect it was, just as it is hard to capture the beauty of our surroundings out there, pictures do not do it justice, nor do words.

So, on my fourth trip to wine country in four years, I give you…wine country…in fours.

Four of my favorite pictures:

The quintessential wine snobs picture – I think I win this round, don’t you think?
On our last day at Hop Kiln, where they serve warm crusty rolls along with a variety of delicious cheeses, spreads (the sundried tomato pesto is sinful!) and meats.
Because my expression cracks me up, caught in a half laugh at Williamson, one of our hands-down favorites, during the most delicious wine and food pairing (duck, lasagna, and meatball bites were utter perfection). We ended up buying oh, 8 bottles here! Oops! 😉
Such a cute group shot, at Field Stone, my very first wine club and still my favorite. All of their reds are deep, inky, and bold and their whites are fresh, light and crisp. (and we kind of look like we belong in the opening credits of Full House, don’t we?!)

Four of my favorite moments:

  1. Skinny-dipping in the pool. A lot. Woops 😉
  2. When our zip lining guide had to basically ‘save’ me from whamming into the tree after I didn’t brake careening in from a long and fast zip (see #1 below…) – let’s just say it was a favorite moment because I will never forget it, and I kinda think I blacked out for a second, out of fear!
  3. Balancing wine tastings with pool and hot tub relaxation. In years past, we have typically been tasting all afternoon, but this time, we would just pick 2-3 at MOST and then head back to the house and enjoy the heat, sun and our kick ass house.
  4. Walking around the grounds at our house and M and I embracing as we gazed over the lawn and pointing out the most perfect place to get married…right there. 2013, perhaps? 😉
Four learnings:
  1. I’m apparently deathly afraid of heights. We went zip lining on our second day of the trip and while M was pretty apprehensive about it, I ended up being the most scared. With each zip (total of 6), I got more and more freaked out and was literally on the verge of tears each time. I didn’t admit that until the end though, as we repelled down 60 feet to the ground, because I didn’t want anyone to feel like I wasn’t having fun. I mean, it was an experience I will never forget, but it is also one that I was utterly thankful for when it was over. I almost kissed the ground, no joke.
  2. While I struggled a bit with mindfulness, by the end of the trip, I am so glad I let go as much as I did. As much as I am really glad to be back into my routine (eating, workouts etc), I think my body and my mind needed it.
  3. Going with the flow can be a very good thing. We had planned several wineries per day and in different areas but after finding a few gems just by doing things like ‘okay, second winery on the right’ we realized that throwing the rulebook out the window (in this case, our plans!) is so much better than planning. (gasp – this from a type A’er?!)
  4. Disconnecting isn’t just liberating, it’s something I need to do. Often. Not checking Facebook or Twitter much, and really just posting some pics to Instagram gave me a sense of being far away from it all, but in a freeing, liberating way. I didn’t miss anything. Shocker, right? More on this in a later post.

Four of my favorite (new!) wines:

  1. Portalupi: The perfect balance of Italian infusion into California wines. We are now wine club members 😉
  2. Amista: We stopped here because they had balloons out front (doesn’t take much hehe!) advertising a vertical cab tasting. (that is a wine flight where you taste four wines, starting from oldest vintage to newest) and we had so much fun, we picnic’d here, and came back a second time (for a Zin flight for Zin Day!). Epic.
  3. Cartograph: Where I tasted the very first Chardonnay that I actually liked.
  4. Hop Kiln: This isn’t a new winery for us, HOWEVER, I have to mention it because it is the first pinot noir that I LOVED. Score.

After the longest trek home ever (a FIVE hour flight delay on a red eye…I am not sure what could be possibly worse than a red eye, than one with a FIVE hour flight delay. We crawled onto that flight at 2 am PT and landed in Boston at 10:30 am ET. Yikes.), with 33 bottles of wine in tow (plus 6 more en route!), I emerged happy, relaxed, and enjoying my most favorite trip to wine country yet. And already cannot wait to go back next year.

Cheers friends.

Wine country three-peat…a recap in pictures (and a few words)

At long last, here is a recap of my wine country three-peat vacation in pictures (and a few words). These are pictures mostly taken by M…what can I say, his camera on his phone takes unreal pictures! (we look like rockstars in some of these. Or something.)

(and I also plan to post my recap of my favorite wineries, probably next week, when I write a guest blog for RedWhiteBoston!)


The girls and me at Truett-Hurst, behind us is a stream where salmon jump out of it in October as they swim downstream. Cool, huh?
M and his brood of chicks (lol), also at Truett-Hurst (mind you, we picked this place because it opened at 10 and when we walked in, the wine pourer (sommellier?!) said 'ah, you must be from the East Coast!" (sure, but we still would have started at 10, for the record...). Big pours, lots of awesome red blends makes for a powerful first tasting o the day!
Dutcher Crossing...check out the freakin view behind us! It was unreal! Good wine, I believe we got a cab, if I am not mistaken (the pourer was all of 22 years old. Becky. She was pretty funny though).
Ahh....grapes, grapes, and more grapes. I never got sick of gazing at vineyards.
LOVE this picture...feigning our snotty sniffer face at Hopper Creed in Napa (we took a day trip, which we usually do, with a driver and hit some private vineyards. This was an AWESOME find! The winemaker looked like Jerry Garcia, was smoking a cigarette and drinking Bud Light!)
M likes to take 'artistic' pictures of me...I actually really like this one for some reason 😉
Another hidden gem...Cinard in Napa, which JUST opened their tasting room...in their private home. This place was un-freaking-real. Awesome merlot (surprising since I usually don't want to drink the 'fucking merlot!' but loved it!)
One of our faves from last year...Hop Kiln. We had a bad experience with our wine pourer (it was her first day though) and found out our favorite blend - Big Red - was discontinued, but had a delish picnic on their grounds with fresh baked bread, sundried tomato pesto, manchego cheese and goat cheese. Oh and some wine. Duh.

I do believe I was feeling a little uh, happy at this point, but we were at Zichichi, which was down the street from our house and a great find! We pre-ordered a zin that we tasted from the barrel. It was delish, a bit dry, not too sweet. My favorite!

The fog would lift every morning from the vineyards and running in the mornings and seeing it lift, from right to left was SO incredible. The right side of the road would be sunny and blue, and the left would be foggy, but just above the grapes. Honestly surreal.
This was our backyard. No, I'm not kidding. We were literally ON a vineyard. Stillerus. And we had a jacuzzi, a garden and this lovely little bridge to the vineyard itself.


LOVE the shadowy effects of the trees in this one! Also at Truett-Hurst 🙂
This was an accidental picture, but seriously, cracks me up. We were at V-M-L which my friend Meg kept saying reminded her of 'vpl' aka 'visible panty lines' and I just crack up every time. Just me? Okay. Moving on.
The fact that our tongues are bright red speaks volumes. Just sayin.
Another 'fun' (aka perhaps a wee bit tipsy) pic at Zichichi


And in closing, here is a picture at Hanna Vineyard - gorgeous grounds - and the wine was pretty good, but the funniest part was the couple next to us name-dropping about how much land they owned and that that her sister was Heidi Newfield (sp?)'s sister (country singer?).

There you have it…a snapshot of one of the best trips e-v-e-r. I will probably honestly go every single year because every single year we have gone, we have had a wonderful time, brought home lots of delicious wine and countless memories. If you ever have the chance to go, GO! And go to Healdsburg. And rent a house. That is all.