Summer is my favorite season in California.  It is easy to love: barbecues, rose, swimming, sunshine, corn and tomatoes, the smell of sun(screen)tan lotion…the list goes on and on.  This summer is different though; I have been a cycle instructor for a full year now, teaching and taking about 5 times a week.  That’s a hefty amount of cardio for this girl.  I can say my legs definitely are looking and feeling strong – but I need a bit more.  Some girl pals and I have decided to up our game for the next month, with both movement and mindful eating.

Here’s the thing, we live in Napa and with our friends, there is no shortage of food, drink and fun.  Our Whole Foods bill doubles because chances are high that you’ll be entertaining another family for dinner, gone are quiet nights at home.  Take out is almost non-existent because the grills are blazing and the produce is piling in.  No complaints at all, trust me.

In an effort to find balance between summertime indulgence and bikini wearing fun, two friends and I are making a commitment to moving in some way, every single day for the next 30 days.  I recently got an apple watch and it has changed the way I approach my personal efforts.  The “rings” as you may have heard about, track your movement, exercise and stand time throughout the day.  If I cycle in the morning, both my move and exercise rings close.  It feels so fantastic to meet those goals before 8:00 a.m.!  I always close the stand ring by dinnertime.  The accountability the watch brings to the surface is incredible, and it has proved to be the perfect motivator for me.

Another one of my favorite things to do in the summer is ride bikes with my kids.  My in-laws brought us some Townie cruisers which are super fun for looping around our neighborhood.  The kids like to head up to the club to grab a soda at the mansion, and I might sneak a soda of my own!  We laugh and giggle the whole time, and the only hazard is getting a bug in your eye or worse yet, your mouth.

Anyone else making a commitment to stay summer-ready all season long?  Get ready for this blog to have new life back into the posts, as I am documenting it all here.  Perhaps SNS might motivate you to get out and move as well.  Cheers to the best season!


Have you ever had a dip manicure?  I was talked into it at a nail salon in Scottsdale, while we were on vacation.  As a devotee of gel manicures, I was certainly intrigued when the nail tech said it would last an extra week, that it doesn’t peel off and it makes your nails stronger.  Since I was already cheating on my own nail lady back home, I figured why not, and, I loved the results.  There is no UV curing process, just polish and powder.  It is like the acrylic they brush on for a fake set of nails, but in this case you literally dip your nail into the powder.  Whatever they paint on your nails (it is clear) grabs the colored powder, then a file is used to shape the hardened powder stuff.  A final coat of clear is put on to shine the nails up.  I have only experimented with light, natural colors, but I am loving the result.  My nails have never looked better!  The down side is that Ann, my Napa nail tech, doesn’t offer the dip manicure.  So once again I went to someone else here in town to get a new dip manicure.  Also worth mentioning, the removal process is much easier than gel.  It is simply soaked off, the only tool used is a cotton ball to wipe the residue away.  No scraping!  I am sure it is all chemical laden and likely going to be the death of me at some point, but I am willing to take my chances.

If you are in Napa, Polished Nail Salon next to Nob Hill Foods offers dip.  Christina did my nails, and I am in love with them.  Hugh is also a master, so I have been told.

tahoe, booked

Every summer, my family escapes to Tahoe for a week.  We join our dearest friends for fun on the beach.  Our biggest decision of the day is what time we will have a Golden Eagle (a blended orange drink with tequila, vodka, with a grand marnier floater).  It is a week’s worth of doing nothing, and I look forward to it the day we drive home.  Here’s to dreaming of summer, and a week at the beach.

quick recap

Lots has gone on since my last post in August.  Here’s a quick photo recap:kids-sierra

My friend Jen Freeto and I took our four kids to Lake Tahoe, sans husbands.  We had such an amazing time.  We stayed in the same place we stay during the summer.  While it was so strange being there without the guys and the other people on the beach, we did all the usual stuff: floating in the lake, golden eagles, Luke at the Lone Eagle, T’s chicken.  This time we did take a cruise on the Sierra Cloud, which was so much fun.



Then the kids had their favorite fundraiser at school, the Jog-a-Thon!  Weez and H each worked hard out on the track.  Here’s a picture of Weezy’s class:


After the Jog-a-Thon, the Safeway Open came to Silverado Country Club. G had work requirements at the tournament, so he went each day to check out the action.  A fun thing they did this year were concerts on the mansion lawn each night; we caught Third Eye Blind and even in the rain, it was so much fun!  H loved hanging with his pal and getting high fives from the pros.


Concert time!


I feel so lucky to live in the place that I do, with the friends that I have.  We always have a great time.  Up next, the road trip of all trips!  Two families decided to make the most of a week and a massive van.  Stay tuned…


This past weekend was Bottlerock.  As you may know from my previous post, we had planned to attend only Saturday of the three day festival .  The weather turned up to the 90s and the town of Napa was primed and ready for this epic event to take place.  The lineup was awesome and everyone was really looking forward to it.

My boss planned on going all three days.  He of course had Platinum level tickets.  We had single day VIP tickets.  As I was driving to work on Friday morning, my boss and his wife called to say they were not going to use their tickets on Friday, and asked if we would like to use them.  DUH!

We scrambled for a sitter.  We put on our festival wear.  I cancelled my nail appointment and spray tan.  When you are offered Platinum, you pull out all the stops to make it happen.  And it was so much fun.  We clinked glasses with Gordon Ramsay in the lounge.  We watched Michael Franti from high above on the sky deck.  What an unexpected fun night!

Saturday was equally as amazing, with an afternoon in the hot sun, with all of our dearest friends.  Florence was beyond anything I could ever imagine.  She has energy and spirit like none other. I danced so much my calf muscles will take a week to function normally.  I have unexplained bruises all over.  I lost my voice.  I am sunburned and my feet smart.  But boy oh boy, it was a blast.

I cannot WAIT until next year!

spring break

Every year, I have the same battle: internally, externally, personally, professionally.  What should we do for Spring Break?  This silly war happens with all the other breaks as well, in the winter, and the entire summer.  I am a planner.  It is part of my actual job to be very well versed in the sequence of events for every single day – from grand to routine.  When it comes to my own life, I just sit in limbo, going over all the possibilities and never pull the trigger on anything until it is too late.

Here’s where I am currently: my friends all have elaborate vacations on the books, to Mexico or to Malibu.  They are getting on planes and heading out.  It seems like everyone I know was in or is in Sayulita, which looks swoon worthy.  Our Spring Break is earlier than most, taking place the week before Easter.  We don’t have a week in April, since Easter falls in March this year.  Both Greg and I are working hard on projects professionally, so taking time off right now isn’t the best idea.

The hardest part is that we have options.  We tried to reserve a condo in Palm Springs that we bought at our school auction last year, but it is already booked.  This year, I bought Disneyland tickets at the same auction (last weekend) that are already burning a hole in my pocket.  The house we rented in Sea Ranch has a great buy four get the fifth and sixth nights free deal going on, which sounds tempting, minus the curvy drive there.  Finally, we live in a spectacular place that a lot of the world visits during these types of breaks!  I have an awesome “in” at the California Academy of Sciences, which could be a great day experience.  Last, two of my very best friends live in Scottsdale and their doors are wide open.

So here I sit, with the break just a week away and we have no plans.  It is eating me alive. Flash to next Friday, when it really sinks in and I might just be a puddle.  That’s all. Thanks for listening.

life changer, and jewels

I am very particular about my hair.  I do not like washing my hair very often, because when it is wet and clean, the process to get it to a state that I can deal with is lengthy.  There are stages it goes thru to get a few days on the books without a washing.  First, I do a stick straight blow out followed by the flat iron.  That style lasts two days.  Day three I will add beach waves with my arched flat iron.  I have owned two in my life, and have used it over the course of ten years.  If I am lucky, I can get two more days out of the curls with a healthy dose of dry shampoo.

Lately, my arched flat iron isn’t cutting it.  I am not sure what the life cycle is for such an appliance, but I think it isn’t heating properly, which makes the curls barely there.  At this point I should in this post, I should probably introduce my dearest friend Julie.  She and I have exchanged beauty secrets, amazing finds and all kids of other things over the past twenty years we’ve known each other.  She too extends her hair without wash for long periods of time.  She sent me a video of her curling her hair with the Beach Waver Pro.  Immediately I was on board.  I went to Ulta, bought exactly what she said (get the pro not the S because it has a longer barrel), and ran home to try it.  I love the results!  Perfect beach waves and saved me so much time.  Worth every penny.  If you like beach waves too, this is a product you must have!waves.jpg

new in the hood

We live in the Silverado Country Club community.  Most of my life, the club has been a part of it.. Because of the proximity, we dine at the Grill a lot, grab cocktails in the Mansion bar, if I am out of Moroccan Oil, I will run up to the spa and get some.  For months, the club has been advertising this new cafe that was coming to the grounds.  It was supposed to open last fall before the big golf tournament.  Like most things, there were delays and I was convinced it would never come to fruition.  The club really does need a little casual spot for people to grab coffee without a waiter, or the usual formality.  It is a big resort in addition to a country club, and I think they are finally starting to realize that.

Last Thursday was the soft opening of the Market & Bakery.  We of course had the art show to attend at rival Napa Valley Country Club, so we missed it.  I promised the kids we would go check it out on the weekend.  Since the weather was nice enough, we hopped on our bikes and cruised over to the new spot.  It is perfectly placed in the center of the grounds.  It has red awnings that dot the familiar white siding that’s on all of the other buildings.  There is a fire pit, tables with lots of chairs, and built in heaters hanging from the patio columns.  Inside, there’s a typical counter where you can order.  They have breads, pastries and cookies from Bouchon Bakery.  You can order specialty coffees made to order.  They have pre-wrapped sandwiches and salads that looked yummy.  Plus, there’s an actual market.  Chilled wines, craft beers, artisanal cheeses, charcuterie, nuts, ships, crackers plus nice tequila and vodka!  They have Napa logo gear, the tasteful kind.  I was so impressed.

We sat outside and enjoyed the surroundings.  H ate his pain au raisin quickly, Weez dismantled her muffin.  The coffee was strong and hot.  To have this option when wine reserves are low, or when dinner just needs a bag of pasta…this market could really become an asset.  When otherwise I would have to get in the car and schlep to Whole Foods.  Same goes for the morning.  On the weekends, we might scoot down to Model or Starbucks.  Why bother when we can ride our bikes to an even better spot!  I am so thrilled the Market & Bakery are open.  Good job, Silverado!


weekend redux

This past weekend was a bit of a tradition, transformed.  When we lived in Utah, our dear friends Eddie, Katie and their daughter Taylor would come to visit us.  We would ski and dine around.  The kids would have a ball day and night.  It became our tradition.  We were so thankful and excited for their visit each year during President’s Day weekend, coming all the way to Utah to be with us.  Shift to now.  We obviously don’t live in Utah any longer.  So we’ve adjusted to California.  Instead, now we go to Carmel for the Pro-Am at Pebble Beach; the boys walk the course while the girls spa.  We meet up later for dinner and fun.

This year, much like last year, the weather was unbelievable.  Sunshine and warmth abound.  My spa time with Katie was so fantastic; the best salad with prawns, a glass of wine, peanut fruit bars before our massages.  We sat in the fireplace room at Casa Palmero until we needed to meet the boys back at Katie’s place in town.  There, we had a true cocktail hour with her parents – cheese straws and vodka tonics.  Dinner was wonderful and the revelry after, even better.  The Hog’s Breath (an essential part of the tradition) was packed with all kinds of fun folks from the tournament.  It was a blast.

You are probably asking, where were the kids in all of this?  Good question.  We dropped them off at G’s brother’s house in Morgan Hill Friday night.  They recently purchased a compound of sorts that has land for miles, including an old, funky house they are making their own, plus tractors and bugs and lizards.  Oh, and a 25lbs cat named Max.  They never looked back when we left.

Memories were made by all.  This is what life is made of.  See next post for further weekend details…

saturday spring

I had not washed my hair in four days.  It was one day too long.  My head itched from all the dry shampoo settling into my scalp.  Taking the situation seriously, I grabbed the apple cider vinegar and headed into the shower.  The sour solution would be the only way to get my head clean.  So I dumped a liter on my head and let it soak.  It burned a little.

After my full scrubbing, I filed my toenails and oiled myself.  Sitting with wet hair and staring out to the sunshine filled day, I asked G if he wanted to go for a hike.  Rather than responding to my question with an answer, he did what he normally does and answered my question with a question.  “You want to go out into the wild with your freshly showered self and do what?”  Things didn’t appear to be going the way I had hoped, but I was determined to get outside and do something.  It was 65 and sunny.  Come on.

I got the kids dressed and loaded into the car.  Greg reluctantly followed us out the door and had his backpack, which meant he was serious.  I had to quickly scan google for a place that was not only close but not that difficult since the kids weren’t really into my idea either.  Snap to Skyline Wilderness Park.  South and east of our house, it is a whole series of trails.  You pay to get inside, park, and head out to the trail head.  Immediately the conversation shifted to mountain lions, wild pigs and poop – all of the things you are warned about before heading into the open.

We hiked for about two and a half hours.  At times it was up hill and Eloise howled about the intense hunger she was experiencing, how her feet weren’t working and how she was scared of the “trees parts.”  Harry told endless stories, both fictional and embellished.  We passed lots of people.  I had no idea how awesome this place was.  On our way down the Buckeye Trail, an older legit hiker (walking sticks, tick protector leg things, beekeeper hat) pointed out the tips of the Golden Gate Bridge to us.  After some squinting, there was the red spire poking out of the fog far out into the distance.

I took another shower.  This time without the acid wash.  It was a good day.