33.

it is hard to know where to begin. so maybe we start with a photo of the finished product?

photo evidence of what it looks like when i relinquish control and let my friends show up for me – theo, i adore you.

thirty fucking three. saying 33 out loud as my age and not just pippen’s number (felecia and i just finished rewatching the last dance docuseries a couple of weeks ago) is wild. however, after how touch and go 31 was for me, i promised myself i wouldn’t just celebrate milestone birthdays. each year is worth celebrating. each day is truly a gift. theo knows this is my mindset. that’s part of why he called me out in january. well, it is more like he called me in.

theo knows i am a planner by nature. neither of us could remember the last birthday i celebrated without looping in the appropriate parties with less than 90 days notice. so imagine theo’s surprise when it was sunday, january 15th, and he had not received an invitation to anything. february 13th was just around the corner. instead of beating me up, he asked me about each area of my life. we talked about it all – family, friends, work, wellness, love life, etc. what we realized is that each area of my life seemed off balance – so much so that with the free moments i did have, i simply did not have the capacity to plan my birthday, track rsvps and show up enthusiastically. theo got quiet and said he had something to ask me. his next words were:

“kristin. i am going to propose an idea. your natural response/gut reaction will be to say no but i urge you to ‘say yes’ anyway.” i waited to what seemed like an eternity and then he said, “i want you to let me plan and host your birthday this year.”

y’all. i was FLOORED. you know the last time someone else planned a full fledged birthday party for me was? 1999. i was turning nine and mark + felecia rented out skate depot for me and all of my little fourth grade friends. every year since then, i have taken lead on this. i’ve had some great celebrations whether i kept it local in la, turned up in vegas, went wine tasting or a boozy brunch, the thing that each year had in common was spending time with people i love. even though i nearly had a stroke at the thought of letting someone else plan my birthday, i asked myself what i would tell my clients and i knew the answer: let the people who love you show up for you – there is power in relinquishing control.

i did exactly that. the rest? well, it was magic.

my mom, misu and i showed up to one of my favorite restaurants in the bay – meso mediterranean. when i arrived, not only was our private room beautifully decorated, so many people i loved from different chapters of my life were all in one space. there was no longer a need to wonder what someone they had heard many stories about was like in the flesh because they got to soak up that energy in real time.

friendships with start dates ranging from 2008 to 2016 and the thing they all have in common? being beautiful badasses.

with each table i approached, my heart bursted all over again. the love in the room was equal parts overwhelming and intoxicating.

you know when you meet someone and they instantly feel like family? that’s how it was with these two.

realizing that people had traveled up from la and down from sf/oakland/sacramento was so heartwarming.

when your old coworkers function more like sisters

theo had arranged a slideshow. it was amazing to see photos dating back from 2007 and was truly a testament to how we’ve watched each other grow up. we looked like babies because we were! being back at scu where it all began was such a full circle moment. being able to celebrate with people i met at scu whether it be in undergrad or in grad school while in reslife was incredible.

the og scu reslife crew – i married the two on the right this past fall!

seeing old and new friends laugh, toast with my mom and entertain misu while i was with each guest was the best.

my mom and many of my friends who are like her adopted children/nieces/nephews

and just when i thought i couldn’t be more grateful, theo directed our attention to the screen below. there was video after video of loved ones who couldn’t be there to celebrate but were there in spirit. many of the messages moved me to tears. oftentimes, people don’t get their flowers while they can still smell them. i was fortunate enough to get plenty (both literally and figuratively) this past weekend.

theo and evan are also the most attractive couple in the world. don’t @ me.

evan (theo’s partner) not only helped theo host but took photos of me with each of my guests and gifted me the most thoughtful card and gorgeous bouquet with sunflowers. they are on my nightstand as we speak.

while i was hesitant to be vulnerable and relinquish control, i am so glad i did. there are not enough words in the english language to thank you, theo. just know i love you so much and appreciate you yesterday, today and always.

i’d kiss you a thousand times over if i could

the icing on the cake? the party not ending until nearly 11pm and being able to laugh like this with my grad school bestie.

therapists can have fun, too!

misu being in bottle service was a life goal. it has now been fulfilled!

misu as security
misu soaking up the club vibes

kicking off 33 has highlighted the importance of practicing what i preach, remembering to pour into people who pour into me and always being grateful.

happy birthday kristin!

it truly was a happy birthday. i am looking forward to my 33rd trip around the sun.

xoxo,

k. tap

friday fun at flora farms

maybe it’s because i am sitting at an airport as i type this or maybe it’s because i am desperately in need of a stiff yet smooth lavender martini like the one served there but i knew that today, each of you needed to discover the magic that is flora farms.

hillary really knocked it out of the park with restaurant recommendations/reservations while we were in mexico a couple of months ago. each one had something different yet amazing to offer. and each one was good enough to return to on our future visits. what made flora farms special is that it is an organic farm to table restaurant and everything you’d ever need for a restorative weekend getaway could be found somewhere across then 25 acres without ever leaving the premises. do you want a delicious meal? a spa treatment? to adopt a dog? to do some shopping for home decor? to take a cooking or painting class?

look no further.

lavender martini – the best i’ve ever had – perfectly balanced + fresh and floral
rosemary ham and egg – it was hard to decide which lie to go with but i couldn’t say no to this flavor profile
fennel sausage – hilly and sarah thoroughly enjoyed this pie

not pictured were the most seasoned and crisp potatoes with hollandaise and a sweet and gooey cinnamon roll we all shared. TO DIE FOR.

hilly and me 🤍
hilly, sarah (our beautiful bride to be) and me – the grounds were absolutely breathtaking

after spending more time at flora farms, we know that on our next trip, we’d like to spend at least two days/nights there. i think it would make the most sense to start off as we usually do – in party mode for friday and saturday in the city, then shift over to this oasis on sunday to recover completely before heading back to california early the following week.

have you ever been to flora farms? if not, does this seem up your alley?

xoxo,

k. tap

32 (part three).

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.

celadon has the absolute BEST calamari (i used caps so you know it’s real)

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.

avocado toast (with smoked salmon, cucumber, watercress, pickled red onion and a poached egg)
belgian waffle (served with butter, strawberry compote, blueberry compote and maple syrup)
huevos rancheros
blood orange 75 (gin, blood orange liquor, lemon and sparkling wine)

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!

the view of napa from entrance of artesa
me + melissa 🤍
interior of artesa
complimentary glass while we waited for our table.
this yellow jacket is my new favorite item in my wardrobe. it’s by lezé the label and is part of hayet rida’s honey glow collection she released. it is so soft yet heavy enough to keep you warm while being so breathable. my dress is from asos.
sofia 🤍
mom + sofia 🤍🤍

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.

the fields at madonna – we had perfect weather
me + mama bear 🤍
the garcia sisters + me 🤍🤍🤍
alexz hates pictures but we take such good ones together that she ends up forgiving me
melissa – quite literally my lifesaver

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.

the squad.

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.

sparkling chateau tasting
charcuterie
bottles on bottles on bottles.
smoked salmon
lil’ spoon + melissa 🤍🤍🤍
loves of my life

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.

xoxo,

k. tap

32.

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.

tj – aka my little big brother since he is 6’9”
hayley – recently did the math and realized we’ve known each other since 1997
drew – little brother from scu
ajaya (ram ram) – my aquarian bff
mama bear, auntie sheila, auntie rene, godmother, charm + my godsister
alan aka sonny
my godsister – been doing life together since 1990
reena, mama bear + mayra – true love is driving up from san diego through brutal traffic for brunch
reena totally makes me want blue hair all over again!
my convent cuties – these girls from my last job feel more like family now. also, if you love jumpsuits as much as i do, this loveappella number is currently on sale at nordstrom! while i am wearing it in olive, it also comes in a gorgeous burgundy.

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.

pooh bear 🤍
jordan 🤍
the only proof that i made it out the night of the 12th is this photo with annie

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?

xoxo,

k. tap

barrel club brunch

last weekend, my mom and i did a little weekend getaway to the bay area to celebrate my 31st birthday. we both needed a change of scenery, santana row never disappoints with outdoor options and most importantly, quality time is my primary love language and the bulk of my friends are still in the bay. the weekend was incredibly restorative and i definitely kicked off my birthday the right way.

let me introduce you to the barrel club brunch at lb steak!

michelle, my mom and i started off with strawberry mimosa floats which included strawberry sorbet, sparkling wine, mint and fresh berries. none of us could have just one.

trying to figure out what to order was tough because everything sounded amazing. i tend to lean towards savory when at brunch but i wanted to try the vanilla bourbon barrel french toast SO BADLY. needless to say, i was relieved that my mom ordered it with a side of bacon so i could have one amazing bite. it did not disappoint. the lavender cream was next level.

michelle had the fancy toast and in my mind, a good avocado toast is the quintessential california brunch must have. the arugula salad paired perfectly with it.

and last, but certainly not least, the everything benedict. it is not secret that i love seafood and this everything benedict included so many of my favorites – dungeness crab cakes, poached eggs and hollandaise on an everything bagel paired with the most delicious tater tots.

our service with christian was impeccable. we ended up staying for drinks well after our food was finished before heading to our next reservation. our friend joe joined us towards the end and enjoyed an old fashioned. since lb steak has a full bar, the world is your oyster. ironically, none of us ordered steaks, yet we had the best experience. i will say this – if you are there for dinner, their ribeye is unreal.

if you find yourself in the bay area, make a reservation via open table at lb steak. happy saturday!

xoxo,

k. tap