"If your heart is warm with happiness, you'll need a glass - if sorrow chills your heart, have two!" - Hannu
As a result of a spontaneous invitation from my dear friend, Ali, myself and five of my best girlfriends from Orange County spent four gorgeous days in Napa Valley, CA in honor of Ali's 35th birthday.
To say the vacation was lush is an understatement.
I've lived in Ohio for almost five months now and have started to adjust to the slower pace, warmer climate, simple pleasures, and a very friendly and generous culture. During my jaunt to wine country, I was reminded of how I used to complain about the heat in California, but now I would trade it for Ohio's humidity any day. And I was surprised by how much brighter the landscape appeared to my eyes. Funny how quickly we adapt.
Thanks to Ali and her sisters' connections, we reveled in VIP tastings, meeting the vintners, a private patio lunch, lodging at The Meritage Resort (featured in the season 6 finale of Top Chef), an afternoon nosh at Gott's Roadside (seen in the Food Network show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives), fancy birthday dinner at Brix, a lovely stroll through the hotel's vineyard and wine cave, eclectic and flavorful tapas at ZuZu, a fabulous burger at Charlie Rose, frozen yogurt (twice in one day!), and a visit with the Korsmeier family.
We galavanted around town with the only goal being to frolic.
While in NoCal, I snuck in a day with the Holowatys in Burlingame (just outside San Francisco), met my baby nephew (Jack) for the first time, watched my oldest niece (Elanor) scoop ice cream at her first 'real' job, walked through the neighborhood with my five year old nephew (Seth) voluntarily holding my hand for the first time, played with my now extremely verbal 1.5 year old nephew (Quinn), celebrated my newly pregnant sister-in-law, drove across the Bay Bridge (always grand and foggy), and enjoyed a leisurely day with my husband's family.
Is it possible to get a cramp from laughing so hard or smiling too much? Let's just say I've been stretching my facial muscles a lot since my return to the midwest.
My conclusion? There will be something (or lots of somethings) about every place I live in that I will absolutely adore. Ohio already has that effect on me, even if I plan to leave it from time to time to visit the charms of my former zip codes. I am one blessed girl!
In February 2010, my husband got the call. His dream job presented itself and God flung the doors wide open in NE Ohio. With one month's notice, we packed our things, said our goodbyes, and embarked on a new life adventure 2400 miles from where we started. This is me, a Seattle girl at heart. I am happily married and the funniest person I know. This is me, sharing my midwest stories with you.