the last few weeks have been a complete whirlwind! from kicking off a new school year to attending four weddings in four weeks (two in the same weekend in different states) to simply figuring out how to have a life both here in the bay and in la. throughout it all, something that has stood out to me is the power of having a strong support system.
there are parts of my job that can be exhausting – sometimes it can be due to what is shared in session by a client and other times, it is simply due to the late hours i work being a therapist on a college campus. that being said, the older i’ve gotten, the more i’ve noticed myself prioritizing the energy that exists within my circles. it directly impacts both who i am as a person and who i am in session with my clients. i refuse to be exhausted by who i choose to spend my time with outside of work. the last five weeks have been filled with people who not only fill my tank, but people i can be unapologetically authentic with. at multiple points this past weekend, this was reiterated.
i came across this quote many moons ago however with today being one of my closest friend’s birthdays, it felt like the perfect time to share with each of you.
getting to celebrate nick last night with some of his nearest and dearest was incredibly special. happy birthday, nick. thank you for being someone i never have to pretend with.
to round out our time in the south bay, my mom and i did lunch at one of my favorite italian spots. afterwards, we picked up some of my favorite women on earth and made our way to napa.
we checked into my favorite hotel there (the archer) before freshening up before dinner at a restaurant i have to go whenever i am in town (celadon). while i had never been there for dinner before (my friends and i often end up there for boozy brunches), it didn’t disappoint. i was so glad that my godmother happened to be in sacramento that week for work so she joined us for dinner and drinks at the hotel afterwards. we shared so many laughs over dinner – nearly three hours felt like 30 minutes.
wednesdays are meant for wine and we definitely did just that. first, we started with breakfast at charlie palmer steak. it came highly recommended and a couple of weeks before our trip when i mapped it, i realized it was in our hotel. somehow (even though i had stayed at the archer before), i had no idea it existed. i had definitely been missing out because we all enjoyed our meal so much.
i would absolutely go back again and i would recommend ordering a savory dish for yourself and splitting the waffles with another person or two in your party. and even with me being a vodka girl, i had to have a couple of blood orange 75s. they were absolutely delicious. if you want to go to charlie palmer, make a reservation via opentable.
next, our wine tasting tour began. my mom had never been to napa so i was excited for her to get to experience it, especially with women who we both love so much. our first stop was artesa!
artesa is a winery i had always wanted to visit but it seemed impossible to land a reservation on any of my weekend trips. i figured i would try my luck since we were going on a wednesday and booked it immediately. since i am a member at the two wineries we went to next, i knew i would be able to secure a reservation at each of those easily. we all loved the service at artesa and i thought their rosé and their reds were perfect. i think on my next trip this june, it is likely i will become a member. afterwards, we made our way to madonna estate.
we all did tastings at madonna but ended up purchasing multiple bottles afterwards that we loved to enjoy there while we soaked up the sun, took photos and talked about anything and everything. melissa was such a fan that she became a member. i know she won’t regret it – i certainly haven’t. after leaving madonna, we drove just up the road to a winery that has my favorite views in all of napa – domaine carneros.
we went all in. tastings. charcuterie plates. bottles. smoked salmon plates. we laughed. we cried. it was the most like myself i had felt since before being hospitalized last summer. it was just the most magical day.
after leaving domaine carneros, felecia and i dropped the girls off, went to the airport and flew home. each part of my birthday was exactly what i needed it to be – from la to the bay to napa, i was surrounded by love and laughter. no matter what part you showed up for, just now how grateful i am.
after a much needed day of recovery on my actual birthday, my mom and i flew to the bay area on valentine’s day. we landed a little ahead of schedule, our suite was ready even though we were checking in four hours early and the weather was perfect.
last year, felecia and i spent valentine’s day with kendall and dom. when we realized we would be in the bay again on valentine’s day, it only seemed right to keep tradition alive. my dear friend, nick, wanted to join us for dinner. when i said we’d love that and just needed to make a new reservation, he took the reigns and booked at one of favorite restaurants without even realizing it – telefèric barcelona.
i had only ever been to the walnut creek location but since we were staying in the south bay, nick made the reservation for the one in los gatos. it was my first time going with a larger group so i was able to try many things on the menu i hadn’t previously. we had the best experience – not only was the service outstanding, the food was incredible and the drinks were delicious.
far more food was ordered than what was captured below however i had to include some of our favorites.
as if the top notch dinner and even better company weren’t enough, nick surprised us and treated everyone (including kendall and dom whom he had just met that night) to dinner for my birthday/valentine’s day. my favorite card i received this year was from nick. felecia also nearly died when he handed her a valentine’s day card. i am constantly reminded of how wonderful my friends and family are – it is even better when i get to bring different groups together.
if you find yourself in the bay area and in need of delicious spanish cuisine, book a reservation through opentable at telefèric barcelona. there is one in walnut creek, one in palo alto and the one we went to in los gatos (the other two locations are in spain).
i cannot believe today is the last day of february. while january may have moved at a glacial pace, i feel like i blinked and february zoomed by.
while my 32nd birthday was on the 13th, my mom always taught me to celebrate birthdays for a full month. over the next week or so, i will be sharing about each of my birthday celebrations.
part one was on the 12th. i wanted to do an outdoor boozy brunch so naturally, we went to plate 38. it was sheer luck that the weather was even more gorgeous than anticipated. it was 81 degrees with the perfect little breeze. i honestly cannot remember the last time i had this many people i loved in one place – likely before the pandemic started. about 25 of us met to up to celebrate another trip around the sun. there were people present from all stages of my life – my immediate family, my extended family (all connected through my godmother), friends from elementary school, high school, college and my work family (both from the automotive industry and the education field). it made my heart incredibly full.
my brother and his girlfriend took me out after brunch to continue the party. afterwards, the after after party was at my mom’s. then there was a pregame at my place before going out that night. *note to self – i am now 32 and not 22. my hangover on super bowl sunday highlighted that in a way i can hardly put into words. even still, the love i was surrounded with made it all worth it.
each birthday, i select a word to serve as my theme for the year. for 32, the word i selected is: intentionality. it is defined as the fact of being deliberate or purposive. after having a close call last year due to covid, i am intensely aware of how fragile life can be. to say it is important for me to be deliberate with my actions, purposive with my work and intentional about the relationships i pour into would be a gross understatement. each person present on the 12th was someone who showed up for me and/or my family during the time it was most needed last year. i am eternally grateful.
it is a beautiful thing to be able to tell the people you love that you love them while they are here to hear it. if there is any piece of advice i can give with my additional year of wisdom, it is to not wait another minute to say “i love you.”
what is something you plan to be more intentional about this year?
i can confidently say that i am thrilled january is over. while it wasn’t a particularly terrible month, it just seemed to move at a glacial pace. february has so much for me to look forward to. not only is it my birthday month but today, my baby turns two!
misu has brought me an inordinate amount of joy. he has shown me so much about unconditional love.
i feel like in some ways, we rescued one another. when i think of how he loved on my mom last year while i was hospitalized, it can bring me to tears. to say they have a special bond would be an understatement.
misu and i are certainly fortunate to have so many people who love him so much. here are some of my favorite shots taken by/with some of his favorite people:
happy birthday to my little rascal. i just adore you.