Breck Because

I live for our girls weekends. We haven’t all been together since January when we romped around New Orleans. (Click here to see that fabulous trip.) It was time for another get together, ok! We have been on the streets of Vegas twice, floated the river in Gruene, explored the concrete jungle of Dallas, and got our fill of the enchanting (and delicous) French Quarter. We needed a change of scenery. The view we wanted was the mountains, but more importantly the cooler weather. It was 107 degrees when we boarded the plane to Denver, Colorado. Emily and Mary would be flying in from Dallas, and Elizabeth and I would be headed from New Orleans. We had it planned perfectly. Ok, so Emily had planned it perfectly. She was our Colorado travel guide who made our trip better than ever. Our flights were 15 minutes apart, and we landed late Thursday night. Side note: Never allow Emily and Mary to travel to the cult-like, Illumnati headquarters that is the Denver Airport by themselves. Alarms happen.  After arriving, we headed straight to a delicious dinner at Steuben’s. I think we were so happy to see each other that no pictures were taken. Minus a few snaps of Steubey snacks. The next morning we needed a sugar high for our road trip to Breckenridge, our ultimate weekend destination.

This called for… Voodoo Doughnuts.
IMG_0628 After serious menu anxiety and buying at least a dozen donuts between the four of us, we were on our way.IMG_0636We like to take our donuts with a view.
IMG_0571IMG_0629IMG_0637IMG_0631I have the cutest friends in the whole wide world!
breckMight I add we family styled our donuts. With a donut in each hand, we had a bite of a bite of each donut. It really is the only way. IMG_6982Breck was right around the corner and only an hour and a half drive from Denver. Who knew it was that close? Oh, that’s right- Emily. Upon arrival (and much ooh-ing and ahh-ing), we headed straight for Downtown Breck,  which was only a block from our lovely condo.
IMG_0638IMG_0634IMG_0642Mary was fascinated by the blue trees every time we saw them. Apparently an artist from Austrailia does this to inspire awareness and discussion about global deforestation. It will definitely catch your eye.IMG_0650The next venture was to Fatty’s Pizzeria, which had food as good as its atmosphere. Emily had her eye on it the whole time as a must-eat spot.IMG_0643Our next downtown venture was to Mary’s Mountain Cookies. We would like to think Mary knows all these delicious recipes…IMG_0576IMG_0645And then I became a cookie momster.IMG_0577After a day downtown we checked into our condo, reserved activities for the next day, and got ready for the Breck nightlife. We started our evening at Apres with flights of beer and set to conquer the world one jenga block at a time.
IMG_0648I ordered a delicious American Whiskey with a splash of water. Hold the whiskey.
IMG_0579IMG_0657We really like to eat if you haven’t noticed. It was time for dinner after all the water/beer intake at The Motherloaded Tavern.IMG_0653Dessert was s’mores tableside. Need I say more?
IMG_0660We ended the night with a “wed wine” and beer run before heading to our condo to play heads up. I think we all cried from laughing so hard. For the record, I killed it in the category Animals, Elizabeth knows her 90’s like no other, Mary now knows who Heather Locklear is, and Emily nailed it.

The next morning we were prepped for the great outdoors. Fueling up on coffee, coke and water, we were ready!
IMG_0640IMG_0646Mountain biking was first on our list. I was 25 weeks pregnant, and I am not going to lie- I was a little nervous. Being the only one in the group without prior experience, I had no idea what to expect. Thankfully they took it really easy on me, and we finished unscathed. Barely. IMG_0663Next, we headed to a green, which after it was all said and done seemed to be the exact same as a blue but shorter in length.
IMG_0673

I am so happy I have such adventurous, fun-loving friends! They were all in beast mode at mountain biking, especially Emily. I was truly impressed with their skills. Don’t worry I didn’t stay too far behind them. IMG_0666IMG_0672We enjoyed all the views.
11870677_10104897943963065_985153580786497665_nIMG_0670After a four hour ride we pounded some waters.IMG_0659And some truffle fries mountain side at TBar.IMG_0589Next thrill of the day was the Alpine Slide. The guy behind us said a girl was thrown off of it the day before and hurt pretty bad. I got nervous once again, but the rest of my crew hit high speeds.IMG_0676

This poor girl behind me had no idea a turtle, a pregnant turtle at that, was in front of her. I’m pretty sure I ruined her vacation. IMG_0597

She definitely caught up to me about halfway down the slide. Opps!

Since we had barely eaten the whole trip, we needed fresh fruit. So crepes. IMG_0595We had Strawberry Shortcake with angel food crumbles and nutella, Cheesecake filled with strawberries, graham cracker crumbles, and cinnamon, and Peaches Foster with caramelized local peaches and chantilly cream.
IMG_0679After some good, quality Saturday reflections we headed back to the condo with a bottle of wine and hot tubbing to relax those muscles. I am pretty sure we ran a couple off in the hot tub after deep girl talk discussions. If you ever want to make strangers feel uncomfortable, we know just the right topics. Message me for details.IMG_0680Sunday sadly came, but we had a big day ahead of us before we boarded the plane to head home that evening. This cute, little coffee shop served us breakfast and caffeine both mornings we were there.IMG_0683IMG_0686IMG_0688We took in our last downtown views before heading to one last adventure.IMG_0689IMG_0718IMG_0705IMG_0701IMG_0600IMG_0693IMG_0691

Paddle boarding on Lake Dillon.
IMG_0706It. Is. A. MustIMG_0708IMG_0606IMG_0712IMG_0721They even went SUP on a Sunday.
IMG_0716IMG_0715This sums it up pretty well.
IMG_0713IMG_0723I leave these trips feeling like a brand new person every single time. Each of these ladies are amazing in their own ways. We each bring so much out in one another. We are easy to travel with even down to the way we eat. They make me laugh harder than anyone else and clearly take great pictures. I didn’t pull my camera out one time the entire trip.  They see things the same and differently, and we are overly open about all the thoughts and feelings. There isn’t one thing I don’t know about each of them. I am kind of glad our shuttle made us say our goodbyes so fast before boarding the plane. I about lost it in a matter of 10 seconds. I am the first of our group, squad, tribe, cartel to have a baby and not knowing the next time we will have a weekend together makes me so sad. I know for a fact our trips will never end, but if I ever lost the time I get to spend with them I would be heartbroken. It amazes me every time how much joy these three ladies are in my life. I simply adore them and who they are. I am very lucky to have lifelong best friends to make each other a priority in our lives after 27 years of friendship. The mountains in the summer are purely magical and sharing it with them made it a trip worth having.

Until next time, I will be craving the blueberry streusel crepe and the brownie boat…

 #redliptrip

S’mores, Stargazing, and Lake Greeson Fun

Family Camping Trip to Lake Greeson

We haven’t been on a family trip since the Big Red Boat (my first cruise) in nineteen ninety something. I don’t even remember the exact year. It was that long ago! We were past due on the whole family vacation thing. So my step-sister, sister-in-law,and I put our heads together to plan a great weekend getaway. Our first choice was the beach, but we eventually gave up on that idea. Ashley (my sister-in-law) had a great idea to travel to the lake.

So, we loaded up the camper and boat and headed north towards Arkansas.IMG_0324The beauty and serenity we discovered was exactly what we all needed.
IMG_0371We arrived Friday afternoon at the Swaha Lodge and Marina, unloaded all the goods, and headed straight to the lake for some tubing and relaxation. 
IMG_0370
IMG_0401

Side note: The nap time/ life jacket struggle is real. It doesn’t get much more adorable.IMG_0402After a sun-filled day, we were hungry! It was time to fill our tummies lakeside.CD9A5815The men fired up the pit, the kids played, and the ladies got everything together. CD9A5817CD9A5826We like to make cooking a social thing. I believe David’s words were “Drinking is Cooking”.
CD9A5818CD9A5833 CD9A5840 Garrett and Ryan gathered wood for the bonfire.

Dessert would be s’mores!CD9A5841The cabin area had a bonfire setup with huge rocks around it for sitting. It made the perfect scene and ending to our night. My favorite part of the whole weekend was sitting around the camp fire. With the nature sounds, stargazing, and everyone enjoying each other eating sweets. You can’t ask for more.
CD9A5852CD9A5849 CD9A5850 CD9A5852 CD9A5865CD9A5853CD9A5872 CD9A5873CD9A5877 CD9A5882CD9A5879CD9A5883 CD9A5884 CD9A5888 CD9A5890 CD9A5894 CD9A5896 CD9A5900 CD9A5907They were that good!CD9A5908 CD9A5916The next morning David and I were early to rise and took in our stunning view.
CD9A5921 CD9A5923 CD9A5924 After two attempts at waking everyone and failing, we decided to head to the Dam Grill for breakfast. CD9A5929 David got the “Big Dam Breakfast”. CD9A5931 He was very amused that they had a menu for “The Dam Kids”.CD9A5932Taking his precious time, he decided to feed the fish with his leftover biscuit. Apparently the “Big Dam Breakfast” was pretty dam big.
CD9A5936CD9A5935

We took our “Dam” jokes and headed to see the rest of the family. Might I add that my sister is a trooper. She has taken Emmie on three adventures, and she isn’t even three months old yet. Talk about a trooper!CD9A5940 We spent the rest of the day on the lake tubing, floating, and chatting.IMG_0405IMG_0372I got some sweet kisses and snuggles from my favorite munchkin.IMG_0407IMG_0408

All and all we could not have had a more perfect trip. IMG_0406Things I don’t want to forget:

1. My mom does not like to make hamburger patties.

2. Tubing can make little boys go from scared to death to happiest day ever in a matter of seconds.

3. Corn dip never ends. You can eat on it for days and it still looks like the same amount.

4. My mom brings enough food to feed the whole camp ground for at least a week.

5. Nap time doesn’t exist.

6. Some people do more than #1 in the water.

7. Some of the best conversations are had in a diaper lifejacket.

8. Be careful pushing someone in, you might fall in with them.

9. The leaves crunching aren’t always a child. It might be a raccoon.

10. Hank is not a fan of a moth.

11. Watch out for walking sticks on trees. They might crawl on top of your head.

12. Emmie has mastered the pouty lip. Cutest thing ever!

13. S’mores and a bonfire are always a good idea.

There was a time on the boat and a time around the camp fire that I thought these are the moments, you don’t want to ever forget. While watching the boys tube, our childhood came running back to us. We all related to it. Some of our most favorite memories were spent on the lake and hanging on for dear life to those tube handles. You’re so happy that you can’t even smile in fear of biting your tongue, and the next morning don’t even count on not being sore. Now, we are the ones in the boat watching those boys experience the same thing.

 My other moment was watching “Uncle” David and the boys make s’mores.

Being 5 months pregnant, it doesn’t take much for me to get emotional, but thinking about adding one to our family and how good he is with them brought much fulfillment to my heart.

With all of that said, family vacations are the best idea.

Beachin’ with My Babes

I received a phone call a couple of months ago from my sweet and beautiful friend, Savanna. She had a craving to sink her feet in the sand, listen to the waves, and soak up the sun this summer.
CD9A5567

With crazy schedules and little vacation time, we planned a day trip to the closest beach from Hammond, Louisiana. We set a date and never made any more plans. Around 8 p.m. the night before we departed,we decided to go to Gulf Port, Mississippi.CD9A5559

It was only a hour and a half from home, and everything we wanted in a day.
IMG_0205

We played on the beach all morning.CD9A5575CD9A5631CD9A5600
CD9A5578CD9A5618
CD9A5629 CD9A5605CD9A5630CD9A5579

CD9A5603
CD9A5626CD9A5608 CD9A5612

After a couple of hours soaking up the sun, this preggers was hungry. Luckily, right across the street from our beach spot was an ocean view, seafood lunch retreat. It was perfect for our cravings!CD9A5633 CD9A5634

We enjoyed pina coladas (I had a virgin one. No worries!), mahi mahi, and fresh boiled shrimp.CD9A5636 CD9A5641 CD9A5642

After lunch, we HAD to hit up the local Surf Style. What’s a trip to the beach without purchasing funny t-shirts, overpriced sunscreen, and looking at the hermit crabs?

It’s Always. A. Beach. Must.CD9A5648

We returned to the beach for a little longer. After all, it was the whole reason we came here.CD9A5628IMG_0229Savanna was a beach bum.IMG_0224

And I found new ways to use my bump!
IMG_0212

After not being able to take the heat anymore, we changed into our day clothesand headed to the local ice pop joint to cool down. Pop Brothers is the cutest place with fresh fruit ice pops. It’s the perfect treat for the 100 degree weather down here.
CD9A5651 CD9A5656Another impromptu stop we made was shopping at the Gulf Port Premium Outlet Mall. We both hit the jackpot. Savanna had way too much fun in BCBG.
CD9A5659While I stocked up on maternity clothes and the cutest baby outfits for Dixon. 
CD9A5662Shopping is truly my cardio. I was hungry once again, and we decided on a yummy Italian place.
CD9A5669CD9A5667

We split the most delicious appetizers. I ordered fried mozzarella.  CD9A5674

She ordered roasted red pepper, honey calamari. It was both drool worthy!CD9A5676

With a patio view, we were ending our night perfectly.CD9A5687

We didn’t end with only a pretty view…

This amaretto chocolate bomb was the icing on the cake to end our day.   CD9A5694

I am very lucky to have this adventurous friend to spend time with. She is such a sweetheart who goes out of her way for me all to often, keeps me stylish, and we are always laughing at one another.  I don’t think we could have made a better day out of it.CD9A5700I sometimes think the best days are unplanned, random and spontaneous.

California Part 4 {Red Wood Forest}

The most eventful, exciting part of our trip was seeing the Red Wood Forest. It’s 5 hours from any major city and pretty much in the middle of nowhere, but it’s definitely worth the trip to see those Red Giants. We luckily had the best travel buddies who made it the most memorable adventure to date.

After leaving the diner in Sonoma, we were headed north towards Eureka. The roads were very windy and my brother drove Mario Cart just like the video game pretending to throw turtle shells at other cars and accelerating around curves. (We all believe Nick has 9 lives like a cat. He used up one life here by not driving off a cliff. More to come..) Seriously though, that poor car… I really don’t know how Ashley and I never got sick in the back seat. Thankfully the scenery was easy on the eyes and made the hours pass a little faster.

Our first stop was in Leggett, California, where we saw our first Red Woods and got to drive through An Actual Tree called the Chandelier Tree.CD9A9837 CD9A9844 CD9A9867 CD9A9875 CD9A9878 CD9A9879 CD9A9880

We were headed to our next spot when we realized the trees were everywhere. You can see them along the roads with such scenic backdrops. We had to stop.CD9A9897 CD9A9899

Our first major tourist must was the Avenue of the Giants. This world-famous scenic drive is a 31-mile portion with its 51,222 acres of redwood groves. It is by far the most outstanding display of these giant trees in the entire 500 mile redwood belt. The Avenue of the Giants is surrounded by Humboldt Redwoods State Park which has the largest remaining stand of virgin redwoods in the world.

IT WAS AMAZING!CD9A9904 CD9A9911 CD9A9917 CD9A9918We were determined to see all the sights in one day. So, we headed to the actual Red Wood Forest, and I swear the trees got bigger. We even managed to make it to elk country where we were steps away from wild elk. The boys were in heaven!
CD9A9939 CD9A9949 CD9A9951 CD9A9954

One secret spot is the Golden Bluffs and Fern Canyon which is in the Red Wood Forest. The road was a tad bit sketchy. It’s a one way road that goes for ten miles until you reach the spot always going up and down cliffs. Signs would say beware of tsunami and falling rocks. We even managed to send the mario cart through a creek to get to there. Once again Nick “knew” we would make it. So, David gets out to measure the water and tells him which side to cross, I am on the other side videoing it, Ashley is in the back seat laughing , and Nick gases it only to find out it wasn’t nearly what we thought. This could have been Nick’s cat life number two gone. It could have been a big ordeal if we would have gotten stuck in the middle of no man’s land. Luckily, we didn’t and made it to the bluffs. After we were parked, we started our hike to Fern Canyon. When I looked to my right and saw this guy about 15 yards from us.CD9A9959

Nick using cat life number three took his phone and my camera (I’m an idiot for letting him take my camera) to get a up close picture of the elk. We were waiting for him to get taken out, but THIS ELK was kind to him.CD9A9962We safely made it to Fern Canyon. This canyon was used as a set for Jurassic Park II. Nick has always been a huge fan of the series, so he was pretty thrilled to see it.

CD9A9967

We were extremely lucky to see a very rare sighting of an actual T-Rex left behind.CD9A9970

But in all seriousness, it was a sight to see!CD9A9972 CD9A9975 CD9A9978 CD9A9988 CD9A9992

Cat life number 5 and 6 were used here. Nick about crashed in Fern Canyon twice. CD9A9996 CD9A0011 CD9A0013 CD9A0018 CD9A0028 CD9A0032

I was in my happy place. I love nothing more than seeing beautiful scenery. I felt as if I was in an enchanted forest for a whole two days. So skipping was a must..CD9A0039

The Golden Bluffs.

It was like having a private beach all to yourself. I’d recommend camping here if you ever have the chance. It’s probably the safest and most stunning spot to spend your evening while visiting.CD9A0049 CD9A0052 CD9A0065 CD9A0066 CD9A0068

The gates closed at sundown, so we had to leave. As we are driving off, we spot the biggest elk we’ve seen thus far. I like to call this the highlight of our California trip and Nick’s cat life number 7.

My brother “had” to take a close up picture of this wild elk and is literally five steps from him. Mr. Elk didn’t like it. He charged him! In a matter of seconds Nick dove off in a bush the size of a house, Ashley and I ran towards him like we were going to do something, and David was getting into the driver’s seat to ram it with the rental car. After we realized Nick was ok and our adrenaline slowed down a bit, we never stopped laughing. However Nick did manage to get this epic shot right before his olympic winning dive. Which brings me to my next point… Don’t play with elk! IMG_9828

We called it a night after the elk play date and headed to Eureka. Eureka is not a town you feel safe in by any means. It’s a town you feel you’re about to get robbed, asked for drugs, or taken hostage. I am so thankful we had Nick and Ashley with us to feel more safe and to witness everything that was happening. No one will ever believe what we saw.. For example, we literally saw a woman that was blue. She looked like she was dead but walking around… So we started talking about the zombie apocalypse happening in Eureka. It was just sketchy ok!

The next morning we were headed to Sacramento where we would fly home, but not before David took us to see every epic redwood there is.CD9A0070 CD9A0071 CD9A0072 CD9A0073 CD9A0074

I give you the Girdled Red Wood….CD9A0075

This big redwood is thin-skinned but managed to survive a major insult. About one hundred years ago, a group removed most of the first 30 feet of bark and took it to San Francisco to stitch together a faux redwood trunk for an exhibition. Remarkably it survived, and the scar edge allows visitors a dramatic view of the one-foot thickness of the redwood bark.CD9A0078 CD9A0081 CD9A0082

The mythical, enchanted forest is so quiet and not a animal or bug to be seen. It was unlike anything we had ever seen especially being from Louisiana.CD9A0084

We also had a rare sighting of Sasquatch in the exact same spot he was spotted once before.CD9A0089

I give you the immortal tree…CD9A0093

An attraction with a name like “Immortal Tree” is just asking for trouble. Still, this almost 1,000-year-old redwood has survived lightning, fire, floods, and ax-happy junior Bunyans.

A sign next to the trunk recounts its various brushes with death: lightning removed the top, the logger’s axe had at it in 1908, forest fires and the notorious “Flood of 1964.” The tree was once 298 ft. tall, and has been whittled to a still respectable 258 feet, with a base diameter of 14 1/2 feet.

CD9A0095

CD9A0101 CD9A0103 CD9A0104

I give you the Founder’s Tree…

It offers a nice view from a distance because the limbs don‘t start until almost 200 feet up, more than half the length of a football field. Onlookers notice primarily the big trunk, described as a majestic temple column.CD9A0107

I give you the Dyerville Giant…

This champion tree crashed to the ground in 1991, creating a thunderous roar akin to a train wreck, but still impresses visitors today. The one million pound giant left behind a carcass almost 400 feet in length including a huge uprooted root cluster with wooden “dreadlocks “ sprouting in all directions, as well as an enormous crater where it once stood. CD9A0115 CD9A0118 CD9A0123

We spent the rest of the afternoon counting rings… Only kidding. No on has time for that.
CD9A0141

Then we made it to the Giant Tree…

CD9A0147

Once 363′, it is now 354′ after a storm broke off its top. Not the tallest redwood, but pretty much the best in show. Designated a Champion redwood tree for having the best combination of height, diameter and crown spread, or how the branches spread out. It may be the largest coastal redwood, as far as mass goes. CD9A0149 CD9A0152

 So let’s review, Nick only has 2 cat lives left, we saw a T-Rex and Sasquatch, and never ever stay in Eureka.

California has become one of my favorite states to visit in the US of A. I am so grateful to have had this trip and shared it with my husband, brother, and sister-in-law. We made more memories than I can count, laughed until it absolutely hurt, and made an adventure never to be forgotten.

The Heavenly Fremont Diner

Ashley googled the best breakfast in Napa, and the number one spot according to Zagat is the Fremont Diner. She read the description to my brother, and he said, “We are absolutely NOT going there, because it sounds uppity.” He continued with,”I’m going to find somewhere to eat that’s much better and not so pricey.” (Even though Ashley insisted it wasn’t either of those)

1423340159018

Driving away from Napa, twenty minutes later he says, ” THIS is where we are eating! Looks great.” It was a country farm place with a cool truck in the front. Grown up flowers all around. Ashley asked him,”Please look at the sign…” It was only the best breakfast in Napa. Nick managed to pull into the same place Ashley attempted to go twenty minutes ago! Oh the memories we made on this trip.. CD9A9826If you are ever in Napa, I would highly recommend eating here. The decor, food, and employees make it one great experience. It’s so good that I am dedicating a whole blog post to it.

CD9A9812CD9A9813CD9A9816CD9A9814CD9A9815   CD9A9818CD9A9817CD9A9819

CHICKEN FRIED STEAK
Niman Ranch Top Sirloin w/sausage gravy & buttermilk biscuitCD9A9820CHILAQUILES
Ranchero sauce, smoked niman pork, chips, sour cream, diner beans, avocado, & scrambled eggs

CD9A9821

CHICKEN & WAFFLE
Half fried chicken, corn & sorghum yeasted waffle, log cabin, & Clover butterCD9A9822

BLACK PEPPER BRISKET HASH
House smoked brisket, collards, potatoes, sage, & caramelized onions with sunny eggCD9A9823CD9A9825

California Part 3 {Sonoma & Napa Valley}

Once David and I were married,  I told him that I would like to visit Napa before we began “trying” to have children. We have been married for nine months and here we are in Napa. So I guess we all know what that means… Baby Davidge’s in our future hopefully!

We planned half a day in Sonoma and a full day in Napa. The main reason Sonoma was a top priority is the love Ashley and I have for red wine. So, La Crema from the Sonoma Valley had to happen and was our first stop to taste our favorite wine.
CD9A9682 CD9A9688Every glass was perfection!

CD9A9690

My husband, who isn’t a wine drinker at all, was sipping it down. By the end of it we left with a very expensive bottle to celebrate a special occasion and another bottle that we both enjoyed. Nick and Ashley left with a wine membership where they will get bottles delivered in the mail. We were definitely enjoying Sonoma one glass at a time! CD9A9692

Our game plan was to take on a few tastings and eat, and I have to say the food is as good as the wine. The first restaurant we tried was Barndiva and I can’t say enough about the food. CD9A9698

Another plan we had was to ask locals about great tastings to attend. Stonestreet Estates Vineyard was highly recommended.
CD9A9700 CD9A9702

The view was impeccable and the wine was different. It was a very expensive wine, so we thought maybe we don’t have a taste for high dollar wine, but the view and company were worth it all. CD9A9701CD9A9707

CD9A9709 CD9A9713

After the tasting we went for a scenic drive to see the valley’s. We learned there are many different valley’s where grapes are grown and sold to vineyards. Some vineyards grow their own while other’s buy from grape farmers, or they do both. The different valley’s have varying soils, temperatures, and sunlight which highly influence the taste of the grapes and give you many different wine flavors. CD9A9715 CD9A9719 CD9A9723 CD9A9728

After a day in Sonoma, it was time to check into our hotel which was a cute little rustic, contemporary spot. CD9A9732 CD9A9735CD9A9733

The next morning we had reservations at the Duckhorn Winery. We were ready to get breakfast and waiting on Nick to get the Mario Cart when he walked in to say the battery was dead and we were missing a hub cap. CD9A9740

In a ditter we had no idea what to do. It was our first full day to experience Napa and we had no car. So we thought.. Let’s call the rent-a-car place, let’s hire a designated driver and get him to jump it off then drive us around (btw you can hire a DD in Napa), or go buy jumper cables and get the taxi driver to jump us off.

Option #3 it was! I have never seen two men more ashamed in my life as they rode away in that taxi. CD9A9736

So Ashley and I headed off to brunch! Don’t worry we got the boys breakfast too.CD9A9737

Our plan had worked and luckily the winery rescheduled us so we had time to squeeze in a quick tasting at the Larson Family Winery. It was down home, relaxing, and tasty.CD9A9739

They are known for their Three Lab Cab which we all brought a bottle home with us. Sadly, we didn’t see the dogs, but it was a fun tasting. The owner came in and took the boys to show them around and gave them a little history of the place.CD9A9751

And any place that has sweet tea outside of the south is a friend of mine!CD9A9752

As we were headed to Duckhorn we came across Nickel & Nickel Vineyards. We weren’t able to visit, but it was too adorable to not take pictures of.CD9A9757CD9A9761

This was everyone’s favorite stop of the day, Duckhorn Vineyards! CD9A9786CD9A9770CD9A9766CD9A9785CD9A9776One good thing about going to Napa when the grapes aren’t in harvest is that it’s less crowded. We only wish we could have seen some grapes. I guess drinking them made up for it!
CD9A9790

Another recommendation we got was to eat at Farmstead. We sat on the patio and had a delicious lunch. I believe I had a yummy pork chop.IMG_9779IMG_9774

After lunch we headed to another tasting at the Caymus VineyardCD9A9791 CD9A9794 CD9A9797

It was a stunning spot and the tasting on the patio was delicious.CD9A9801CD9A9804

Our last winery was Alpha Omega. It was a cool spot and the wines were pretty good. I particularly really liked one, and we enjoyed ending the day lounging outside.

IMG_9791

So we toasted to our last winery and headed to a fancy dinner.IMG_9789

We were honestly wined out at this point. Yes, it is possible. Press actually had  a $2,000.00 bottle that we talked about getting, but decided against it. I am only kidding. We were in shock. IMG_9794IMG_9797

It was another delicious meal! Once again our bellies were full and we were magically wine connoisseurs. We jumped in our Mario Cart and headed to the hotel, so we could recuperate to wake up early. The next day we were driving north  to the Red Wood Forest.

California Part 2 {San Francisco, Monterey Bay, Sausalito}

David and I flew out of LAX and arrived in San Francisco around lunch. My brother, Nick and sister-in-law, Ashley greeted us in the rent-a-voltzwagon aka Mario Cart. We headed straight for lunch on the bay at the Ferry Building Market. The restaurant is called Hog Island Oyster Company and it was out of this world! (A special thank you to Felicia Beene who shared all of her San Fran travel tips a girl could need)

After our bellies were full, it was time to be a tourist. We headed straight to the winding road on Lombard Street. CD9A9560CD9A9569CD9A9561

Ashley had to make some sharp turns, Nick was videoing, I was hanging out of the window taking pictures, and David was yelling at me to get back inside mario cart. We were laughing the whole way down.CD9A9564

Our next stop was Pier 39, because my Dave was on the hunt for Sea Lions.  Ashley and I got completely distracted by the mini donuts on the route to the pier.  CD9A9573

With donuts in hand, we spotted the Sea Lions! They were everywhere, but I loved Mr. Solo over here posing for the crowd.

CD9A9577

To the right of the animals was Alcatraz.
CD9A9581

We saved the best for last this day…

Being the tourist that we are, it was time to take in the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge. CD9A9585CD9A9595CD9A9592CD9A9604CD9A9584IMG_9722        We drove all over to take in every view of the bridge. The bluffs around the bridge are stunning to see.CD9A9608

We ended our day with truffle fries and gourmet burgers. If you ever have the opportunity to eat these, do it! IMG_9720

Day 4 was a big day. We headed south to go horseback riding throughout the mountain valleys at Garrod Farms.IMG_9741

Where our biggest decision was…IMG_9740IMG_9724

David had the biggest horse we had ever seen named Nicky while Ashley had Elmo, I had Chuck, and Nick had Ben. IMG_9734

Elmo liked snacks, lots of snacks, Chuck enjoyed galloping often, Ben was the leader of the pack, and Nicky was a mighty giant.IMG_9737

But Dave had the big guy under control.IMG_9742We left the trails and took the scenic route to Monterey Bay for the afternoon. CD9A9649

I have seen fruit farms in South Louisiana particularly strawberries, but nothing as big as these.CD9A9648

We adored Monterey. It was the cutest little town right on the water. CD9A9622CD9A9619CD9A9624 CD9A9628CD9A9625CD9A9639

And what’s a vacation without a few drinks and some sea air?CD9A9634CD9A9629 CD9A9626

The spot we ended up at was near the Monterey Canning Co. The shops and eats made for the perfect spot. CD9A9620

We were in heaven with the gourmet cinnamon rolls. I got the honeybun and Nick got the original. Best 5 pounds we have ever gained.CD9A9640

Dave made a new friend too! CD9A9646

On Day 5 the boys wouldn’t let us bike over the Golden Gate to Sausalito, so we loaded up in the mario cart and drove over. It reminded me so much of Capri, Italy.
CD9A9655

Of course we were so thrilled to spot more sea lions.CD9A9656 CD9A9658 CD9A9663CD9A9660CD9A9664

And this sky line view of San Fran was breath taking.CD9A9667

Dave decided to take it in on this rock and was so happy until..CD9A9669

His iPhone dropped into the Pacific Ocean.CD9A9671

After this we decided it was time to make our way to wine country.CD9A9678Part 3 of our California trip will be in Sonoma and Napa where we became wine connoisseurs or at least we like to think so.

As for me this week:

I had and have many sessions (if the rain will ever stop, it needs to go away now)

My husband drove up to visit for a few days 🙂

My brother and sister-in-law’s golden retriever, Kansas went into heat so our golden, Trip is being studded out and we are hoping for golden puppies very soon

Shooting a wedding in Dallas which means I get to visit with girlfriends and

My sweet sisters baby shower and birthday!

California Adventure Part 1 {Orange, Laguna Beach, LA, Hollywood, Malibu, Santa Monica}

I have always wanted to see what all the California talk was about. The sunny weather, wine tastings, red carpets, Beverly Hills, and ginormous trees is all I’ve seen in pictures and heard of on the internet and tv. I had 7 days to cram as much of “The Golden State” as we could and I took full advantage. We flew into Orange County on Saturday and accidentally ended up…. IMG_9636

In a parking garage for Disney Land. CD9A9475

Let me explain… We had no absolute plans for our Saturday in this area. I have always been a big fan of amusement parks and water parks, but my husband is not, not one bit. It’s been a dream of mine to go to Disney World or Disney Land (I didn’t care), but I assumed that I would wait until we had children. Fortunately, I thought too soon. I asked David if we could drive by just so I could see the magical place and luckily google maps led us to a disney parking garage which was one way. Since there was no way out, my sweet husband decided we might as well see it since we had paid to park.CD9A9468

So we did! CD9A9470

I was all smiles while Dave was hiding his excitement.
IMG_9641CD9A9477 copy

I was thrilled to find the teacups and flying Dumbos!CD9A9481 CD9A9485 CD9A9487

Now, the part when David got excited…. All it took was Ducks, Pirates, and the French Quarter!

(Guys can like Disney)
CD9A9489 CD9A9490 CD9A9493

There are those pearly whites!CD9A9494 CD9A9495CD9A9499

And then we found Walt Disney! CD9A9503 CD9A9507 CD9A9515

I was on cloud nine! We will be back! I’ll be wearing my sequin Minnie ears until then…CD9A9518

We left Disney and headed to Laguna Beach. I admit it.. I was a fan of the MTV shows and needed to join the gang or at least see what it was all about. The West Coast is stunning from what we saw of Laguna Beach all the way to San Francisco!CD9A9522   IMG_9659

The next morning we were headed to Los Angeles. Our first stop was the Hollywood Hills to see the sites. It was beautiful!IMG_9705

CD9A9523

We had to make a stop on Hollywood Boulevard to see the stars, prints, and Dolby Theatre.
CD9A9528IMG_9701CD9A9543

We were sad to have missed Vince Vaughn!CD9A9534CD9A9539

We got to see a real red carpet! It was happening that night, an actual red carpet movie premiere for Cinderella!
CD9A9540

I made David pinch me! Disney Land and now this! I was star struck.CD9A9541

Also, the oscars were a week ago. Such an amazing feeling to think about all the Hollywood stars that were just here.CD9A9542

Lunch time called for the California famous In-N-Out Burger. You can never go wrong.
IMG_9702  After lunch we drove through Beverly Hills and down Rodeo Drive. I have no pictures, because I was too busy obsessing over every perfect detail from the manicured mansions to the high fashion shops. I picked my mouth off the ground and we drove to Malibu.IMG_9685 My man is happiest near the water, so we spent the rest of the day here, beachside. IMG_9699IMG_9698              IMG_9703  CD9A9546With our sandy feet and windblown hair, we jumped in our renta-hyundai to find a drink in the sand.  CD9A9558

One of our friends suggested Paradise Cove, and it was exactly what we were looking for. This Cocolada (Bacardi Coconut Rum, Superior Rum, Pineapple Juice, Coco Lopez, blended with rich Ice Cream) and sea air hit the spot!IMG_9697

We ended our day at the infamous Santa Monica Pier.IMG_9700

It was a dreamy two days. I love traveling with my husband, because we travel so well together. We aren’t a couple that can stay in one place long. Seeing as much as possible is always our goal. We think there are too many places in this world to see, so don’t waste time by seeing the same place twice.

Part 2 of California will start in San Francisco. My brother and sister-in-law (Nick and Ashley) flew in to meet us and we spend the rest of the week laughing and exploring. More to come later.

As for me this week, I am headed to North Louisiana for two weeks. I have many sessions and two weddings to shoot. One wedding is actually in Dallas, and I am very much looking forward to it all and seeing my family and friends.

A Day in Dallas with my Mom

Since I was little the ladies of my family (meaning my grandmother, her two sisters, their daughters, my grandmother’s best friend, Ms. Sarah, my mom and I) would plan a weekend trip to Dallas to shop once, sometimes twice a year. It has been a tradition of ours. Everytime we would eat at the same places, shop at the same stores, and always stay at the Embassy Suites by Dallas Market. Sadly, we haven’t gone since our last trip which was 4 years ago. It was a month before we lost my precious grandmother, but it was probably the best trip to date. I am telling you this, because 4 years later I took my Mom back to Dallas to take in the traditions which we have always had.

IMG_9293

This was a special trip for us though. My Mom’s birthday was over the weekend, and I could not have thought of a more perfect way to celebrate. It felt as if my grandmother was there in spirit the entire time.

We woke up early on Saturday morning and made the drive into Big D. I will always have butterflies, excitement every time I see this skyline.

IMG_9258

Our first stop was The Shops at Highland Village, so I could drool over shoes. Hatcher (1 of 10) IMG_9267FullSizeRender

I hated leaving, but there was much shopping to be done! Hatcher (2 of 10)

I am a huge fan of Anthropologie, and I think after this trip my Mom is too. They gave us a dressing room together, and my mom tried on at least 10 garments. Playing dress up and being a stylist to her is one of my favorite things. She always buys what I like, hates it until she wears it, and then thanks me for telling her to wear it later. It’s a constant battle, but we accept it. IMG_9279

I’m loving her spirit fingers! She was excited.

After a morning of shopping it was lunch time. The only request the birthday girl had was to eat at Mi Cocina, known for its “TexMex” and Mambo Taxi Margarita or as my mother called it that cab drink. IMG_9273IMG_9276

Our next stop was Northpark Center. Its high fashion and luxury shopping will catch your eye and your wallet, but I especially love the decor throughout the mall.IMG_9282

I had a little selfie action in the fitting room. I love my top too much not to share. Lace and ruffles win me over every time. Plus, I’m a rule breaker. I wear white all year long! IMG_9281

Our next spot on our itinerary was birthday pie for my birthday girl, and thanks to one of my friend’s Emily who lives right outside of Dallas in McKinney (she was introduced in my post from New Orleans), I knew the perfect spot, Emporium Pies!Hatcher (3 of 10)Picking which pie is the hardest part ,but we decided on a slice of Cloud Nine, a three layer creme pie with caramel, butterscotch, and brown sugar meringue and the Smooth Operator, french silk chocolate with a pretzel crust, and a big glass of cold milk.
IMG_9289IMG_9292IMG_9296After shopping and pie, it was time to check into our hotel. My other great friend, Mary Catherine lives in downtown Dallas. (She was also introduced in my New Orleans post) Mary was very kind to let us stay at her gorgeous chateau. I give you the ever so modern style, chic Hotel Mary!
Hatcher (5 of 10)

She even had us a welcome surprise and a….
Hatcher (4 of 10)

The fire place was going!

It was so homey.

I love her! Hatcher (9 of 10)Hatcher (6 of 10) And I admire her taste in home decor.Hatcher (7 of 10)Seriously..How cute is this remote holder?!

Hatcher (10 of 10)

We even left her a little surprise for showing us such amazing southern hospitality, but look at that rug!
Hatcher (8 of 10)  I’ll try not to obsess too much.

Back to our day…We had a little down time before our dinner reservations and someone shopped till she dropped.IMG_9297  Nevertheless, we made it to Stampede 66 for dinner. (Another recommendation from Emily, she knows her food if you haven’t noticed yet)

It’s as Texan as can be and everything is made to perfection.

IMG_9304

My Mom ordered a Bloody Maria with mixes of men in black tequila, sangrita, serranos, and salt.IMG_9301IMG_9312

I ordered the pan seared gulf catch of the day with jumbo lump crab meat, grapefruit butter, and avocado fries.

IMG_9310And she ordered….grilled quail, spiced sweet potatoes, and crispy spinach. Both were extremely tasty.

IMG_9311With our bellies full and our wallets empty it was time to go home. I believe we did pretty good!   IMG_9323  We had one last stop on the way home for lunch. This is the one tradition with my grandmother that I kept. We always stopped at the “World Famous” Dairy Palace in Canton.

IMG_9326

Only the best for my birthday girl!!IMG_9327

We’re Moving

The Davidges are headed south for the winter, South Louisiana to be exact. My husband, David, grew up in Hammond and always anticipated getting back to his roots. He’s been located in North Louisiana for 14 years now and after many conversations, contemplating what’s best for us, tears, etc, we are packing our bags.

IMG_9048-1Our one bedroom humble abode in Bossier City, Louisiana was a nice nesting area for us newlyweds. The location is what I truly liked best, and the fact that it was brand spanking new!

Our plan was to stay for 7 months, which somehow turned into 16 months. Plans, what are those?? I’m not complaining though. We aren’t the couple to jump into anything without really putting all of our thought, effort, and heart into it.

IMG_9037

I quickly learned that my husband makes quite the packer and is truly excited about being “that guy” with a U-Haul. I believe his words were, “Davidges on the move.”IMG_9065

Moving has made me realize a few things…

1. Our homes are disgusting once you move all of the furniture out.

2. You can never have too many boxes.

3. True love is a family member or friend offering to help you pack.

IMG_8838

Also, if my girlfriends lived a little closer. We definitely would have tried on all of my clothes and played “Trash or Keep” via Sex and the City. It’s probably one of my favorite scenes from the show, and who doesn’t love drinking champagne, playing dress up, and laughing until it hurts? IMG_9057 Moving week started on Saturday during what seemed like the most hectic work schedule of my career. Since David was leaving Tuesday (and I was crazy busy with sessions), he began packing up furniture, and my office started to become non-existent. So , I had to get crafty and created a make shift office with my prop chair. It came in handy for two days.

IMG_9052-1Then, I only had a floor and a computer.  IMG_9064

And.. We had to sleep.IMG_9049    Eventually all of our stuff was packed away and ready to head south. I can’t believe between two vehicles and one tiny U-Haul it managed to all fit.

IMG_9056

I said adios to David and had two days to make sure everything was together. I have lived in North Louisiana my entire life minus that one summer I spent in Dallas, and it didn’t hit me until I was sitting in my empty apartment about to turn in our keys that this was it. *Insert anxiety here*  This is my “I swear, I’m excited to move face…”FullSizeRenderOne thing I know will help with the transition is that I will be in North Louisiana for two weeks every month for the next year. A “two weeks on, two weeks off” schedule, if you will. My family, friends, and clients will be a huge priority when I’m in town. I appreciate all of the encouraging words and the life we have made in Bossier City. Here’s to our next chapter! Oh, and finding a house…