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.
february 10th is one of my favorite days of the year. two of the most powerful women i’ve ever known were born today – my great grandmother (granny) and my best friend, anj aka twin.
when we met in 2010, it was odd to us that we hadn’t crossed paths before then since we had been at the same college (a small, private one) for two whole years. i am a true believer that timing is everything and like to think that anj came into my life exactly when i needed her. when we met, we were both 20. while we were definitely adults, there was so much growing to do. it has been beautiful to watch her evolve and to be able to go through my own evolution with her by my side every step of the way.
we’ve seen each other through it all. in our early 20s, it was wild nights at bars and house parties, helping each other move into new apartments and embodying the work hard/play hard mindset.
in our mid 20s, it was flying to see one another for weekends filled with quality time, music festivals and supporting one another through promotions at work and graduations.
in our late 20s, it was being present for the big life shifts – celebrating love and honoring those we’ve lost.
in our early 30s, it has been welcoming in new life (both human and fur babies included) and learning the importance of investing in ourselves (mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally).
across our 12 years together, you manage to ALWAYS show up. anj, you might only be three days older than me but i get the pleasure of learning from you every single day. sometimes, i struggle to explain just what you mean to me. however, i came across this quote back in december and saved it for today:
“friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. it’s not something you learn in school. but if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.” -muhammad ali
when i stop and think of what it means to have friends who have become family, anj is the very first person to come to mind. happy birthday, twin! i love you endlessly.
phew. to say that i am thrilled to start a new year would be the understatement of the century. 2021 was filled with the highest highs and the lowest lows. ironically, back in may of 2021, my dear friend melissa and i made a pact to spend new year’s eve together. little did i know that in august of 2021, melissa would be the one to set the ball in motion to be sure i made it to the hospital (where i ended up staying for 35 days with covid). fortunately, i am now healthier than ever and was able to make the trek to sacramento to visit melissa in her new home.
december was a big month for her. she had a birthday, started a new job, moved into a new home and had her first official house guest – me! i definitely had to get her a few things to celebrate. my favorite gift was one that i got for us both.
our initial rings are from happy jewelers. in addition to being gorgeous, understated and super dainty, i love that the rings are adjustable and come in three different metals. i got melissa yellow gold and rose gold for myself. they are definitely rings that can be worn daily and if you are into stacking, they are perfect. my friend hayley is a jeweler there and uploaded a video to show how to adjust/wear it. if you are looking for the perfect gift, look no further.
what did you do to celebrate the new year? we stayed in, watched the newest sex and the city episodes and had much needed quality time paired with cocktails. misu was in heaven being all cozied up with blankets and his auntie.
happy new year from me (melissa and happy jewelers) to you!
first, i cannot believe i am 31. there was such a build up to turning 30 followed by an epic celebration in sin city. this year looked a lot different but i would argue it was equally (if not more) impactful. my mom and i flew for the first time in almost a year and celebrated my birthday in the bay area. since it was home for 10 years, so many of my favorite humans are here. it just made sense (to me) to do a series of outdoor dining dates in small groups. you will get a chance to read about an absolute must for brunch tomorrow.
anyway, each year, i pick a theme for the year centered around one word. in previous years, i have focused on themes like: hustle, vulnerability, unapologetic, etc. back in december, i was driving home from the bay and someone asked me what my plans were for my 31st birthday. while i hadn’t ironed out plans, i knew my theme for 31 ahead of time. 31 was going to be all about reciprocity.
merriam webster defines reciprocity as the quality or state of being reciprocal: mutualdependence, action, or influence.i realized that while i was (and still am) certainly blessed beyond measure when it comes to my friends, there were still some relationships where i was giving much more than i was receiving.being that i give so much of myself at work, i trulydon’t have the capacity for anything that i am choosingoutside ofthat to beone sided.
i made sure to make this weekend all about spendingtime with people i love dearly who love me back in ways that feelgood to me. i was out of my hotel roomfor over 10 hourstodaybut somehow feel rejuvenated.that’s the beauty of reciprocal relationships.
do youhavereciprocal relationships in your life? what is your theme for this yearofyourlife?