Napa!

So, after we spent three nights in Carmel/Big Sur, we drove 2.5 hours to Napa. Corey and I had never been, but have dreamed of going for a very long time, so our expectations were prettyyy high. I had reached out for recommendations on Instagram months before we went on our trip and I got so many it took us an entire evening to capture and organize all the information! We ended up with a giant excel spreadsheet of Napa winery and restaurant recommendations. If you’re interested in the spreadsheet you can view it here.

Once we got everything down, we started researching every.single.recommendation. That’s right, I googled every single spot — we looked at menus, photos, reviews, prices, etc. From there, I narrowed down the list to my favorites (it was my birthday trip so Corey let me pick ;), and from there my rockstar husband put them all on a map so we could try to make a plan-of-action.

We only had two days in Napa, so we knew we had to be strategic about where we went and how much time we spent at each winery. Now that we’re back, I know that 1-1.5 hours felt like plenty of time at each spot. We definitely could have packed more wineries into our trip (at least on the first day), but we also didn’t want to feel rushed. We also figured we wouldn’t want to drink that much wine, ’cause let’s be honest, after enough wineries, the wine all starts to just blendddd together!

We stayed at the Andaz Napa using our Hyatt Points. The hotel is gorgeous, the staff was amazing and we got upgraded, so we were happy campers! None of the wineries we visited were more than 25 minutes from our hotel, which was great, and there are plenty of delicious and cute restaurants within walking distance. I will say, downtown Napa leaves a lot to be desired in terms of charm. It’s not like it was dirty or ugly, but it didn’t give me the same feeling I got when we were walking around downtown Yountville… Which was… Oh my gosh I never want to leave 😉

Day One: Sonoma

This was our lightest and most leisure day. We had driven over from Carmel that morning, so we didn’t want the agenda to be too packed. Here’s what we did:

Domaine Carneros: We started at the well-known Domaine Carneros (we made reservations ahead of time). This was by far the largest and most touristy of all the wineries we visited, and I have to say I’m glad we got that out of the way at the very beginning. The villa (is that what it is? haha) is absolutely stunning and it looks like you’re in Italy, but aside from that we weren’t overly impressed with the experience or the wine. You definitely feel like you’re just one in a thousand people who come through there each week. It’s not that I wouldn’t recommend stopping here, but I do think there are a lot more hidden gems, so if your agenda is already packed, don’t be too sad to miss this one.FullSizeRenderIMG_7744IMG_7741

Scribe Winery: This was our only other winery for the day, and I’m sooo glad we didn’t have anywhere to rush off to because this is the kind of place you want to sit and stay a while. They just opened up the “hacienda” portion of the winery in February and it took years to restore, and it is so obvious why. I couldn’t stop walking around each gorgeous room and wishing I could just move in! The tasting here is expensive at $60/person, but it does come with some light snacks that are made in-house with farm-to-table ingredients. Between the beautiful setting and the price of the tasting, we were 100% content to hang around Scribe for a few hours enjoying the sun, the views and their amazing rosé. If I had to pick a favorite winery from our entire trip, this would be it. Reservations are required so book as much in advance as you can!IMG_7816IMG_7772IMG_7761IMG_7758IMG_7780IMG_7788IMG_7792IMG_7793IMG_7800IMG_7802

After the wineries we were ready for something heavier to eat so we ventured a few minutes down the road to downtown Sonoma and had a casual lunch at the Sunflower Caffe. It was super laid back, affordable and the food was fresh and delicious! If you don’t have much time, this is a great option for a quick lunch stop.

We ended our day with dinner in downtown Napa (close to our hotel) at Ca’Momi. Really cool space with a good ambiance and we were really pleased with the food. There was a lot of burrata and truffle on the menu — basically two of my favorites, so I left with a full and happy tummy!IMG_7831.JPG

Day Two: Yountville|Saint Helena|Oakville

Bouchon Bakery: We started our day with breakfast and coffee at Bouchon Bakery in downtown Yountville. You guys, Yountville is the cutest. If I were to do it all over, we would’ve stayed there instead of downtown Napa. There was a short line at Bouchon, which we’ve heard is typical, but the food was super delicious and the coffee was great, too!IMG_7842

Ma(i)sonry: Maisonry is walking distance from Bouchon and had been recommended to us, so that was our next stop, and boy am I glad we went in! To be honest, I didn’t realize Ma(i)sonry was a tasting room and not a winery — I guess I didn’t look close enough in my research, I just saw photos of the outdoor space and decided it was a must. Had I known it was a tasting room I probably would’ve passed it up, but I’m so glad we didn’t. I am so bummed I forgot to take down the name of the sommelier that was helping us because he was AWESOME. You know how a person serving you can either make or break an experience? Well, he definitely made it for us. He was super personable, knowledgable and not pretentious at all. We got to try some incredibly amazing cabernets (our favorite) here and their outdoor space is what dreams are made of! Seriously, can I move in? Awesome spot.IMG_7864IMG_7857

Odette: We had pretty much planned (meticulously) every single stop for this day, but when the amazing sommelier from Ma(i)sonry recommended Odette to us and we had a little time to kill before our next reservation, we jumped at the chance to give it a try. It was actually very close to our next stop, so it worked out great. Once again, this winery had an incredible tasting room, the interior design was so beautiful and I was definitely taking inspiration for our dream home! We didn’t have a reservation and they weren’t able to take us on for a tasting when we walked in (they might be reservation only, actually), but they were super kind and let us purchase a glass of wine and enjoy their outdoor space, which is also lovely. I would definitely recommend going and doing the full tasting here if you can get a reservation!IMG_7867IMG_7868

Cliff Lede: After Odette, we made our way to our reservation at Cliff Lede. It was just down the road, but if we had planned Odette into the itinerary, it would have made more sense to do this spot first then Odette, but it wasn’t too out of the way. When we made our reservation, we paid extra to secure a table outside and I’m so glad we did. The indoor tasting room isn’t overly impressive, but their garden area is peaceful and beautiful and a great place to enjoy a leisurely tasting. We had a really wonderful sommelier/server here and he made our experience great. Before traveling to Napa I had heard that it can be very pretentious. Maybe we just got really lucky, but every single spot we went we were met with warm, knowledgable, endearing people. Nobody was snooty or condescending. A pleasant surprise!IMG_7882IMG_7892IMG_7887

After three wine stops we were definitely ready for some food! We made our way over to Oakville Grocery, which had been recommended to us by countless people. It’s a super cute, casual spot where you’ll find delicious sandwiches and other deli type foods as well as really cute souvenirs (like mugs and cutting boards and the like).IMG_7911

After lunch we ventured just a few minutes down the road to Turnbull Wine Cellars. We didn’t have a reservation here, but they were able to take us as a walk-in. We absolutely loved the grounds of this winery, like a rustic Italian garden. They had a fire pit, which would’ve been awesome to sit around had it not been 90 degrees the day we were there! Definitely a cute spot worth visiting and walking around/enjoying your wine in their back garden area.IMG_7934IMG_7918

We knew we didn’t want to be out too late since we were flying out the following morning, so we opted for an early dinner at Farmstead — less than 10 minutes from Turnbull. This spot was super cool and the food was amazing! The cheddar biscuits and ribs are not to be missed! Too bad my phone died before we got there!! 🙁

Before heading out for the airport on our last morning in Napa we walked from our hotel to breakfast at Grace’s Table and it was so delicious! We are definitely breakfast/brunch snobs thanks to Portland’s amazing breakfast scene and Grace’s Table really impressed us (Corey’s chilaquiles especially stole the show!). Highly recommend this cute little restaurant.

Phew! That was a lot! If you have any questions or if you have more Napa recommendations to add to this list — leave them in the comments! Cheers 🙂

{Elodie’s Birth Story}

Elodie is one month and 12 days old, so I think it’s about time I shared her birth story! Toward the end of my pregnancy I was absolutely obsessed with reading other people’s birth stories (if you like them too I found the mother load here. Enjoy!), and found myself completely fascinated by how different they all were. Despite learning about what a “normal” birth is like in our baby prep classes, reading all of these stories reminded me that there really isn’t such a thing as a “normal” birth. They are all different and unique and completely unpredictable. 

I’ll warn you now, this birth story is really long, and more for my memory than for all of you. But if you make it through to the end — congrats! 😉 Without further ado…. 

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In the two weeks leading up to my due date I was already 4cm dilated and 90% effaced. I had actually been dilated since my bout with the norovirus at 32 weeks (only 1cm, but still!), and was up to 3cm & 80% by my 37 week check up. This is pretty rare for a first pregnancy (so I was told), so when my doctor checked me at my 37 week appointment, she confidently stated “this baby isn’t going past her due date!”. That must’ve been the moment she jinxed me 😉 I had always prepared myself to go past my due date because that is so common for first time mothers, but after a preterm labor scare (in which I was admitted to the hospital and everything) at 34 weeks, I couldn’t help but think that there was a possibility our little lady would come early. But alas, April 3rd (my due date) came and went and still no baby. By this point I was off work and all those Braxton Hicks contractions I’d been feeling for the last few months? All of a sudden nearly non-existent! Wouldn’t you know it. 

The day after my due date I woke up with a cold. Of course, I had to throw myself a pity party on instagram because I was now overdue and sick! How cruel! There were quite a few comments that being sick could actually be a sign of labor, but I didn’t take those comments to heart because when you’re 40+ weeks pregnant, you really do think everything is/could be a sign. That was the worst part of being overdue. Physically I felt totally fine, but mentally and emotionally I was starting to break down. It drove me nuts thinking every day could be the day, and every pain or weird symptom I had might be a sign of labor. By Sunday night (3 days past my due date) my cold was waning away and I had resolved that this baby was not coming on her own. I was mentally preparing myself for an induction (which we had tentatively schedule for that coming Thursday – when I’d be exactly 41 weeks). 

That Sunday night we went over to dinner at Corey’s parent’s house. The whole gang was there – his parents, my mom, his brother and his girlfriend, corey’s cousin, her husband and their sweet baby. We talked a lot about how pregnant I was and how I was feeling, and to be honest I was probably pretty crabby about it all. I was trying to stay positive, but by that point I was pretty much just throwing my hands in the air in defeat. I told them I was expecting to be induced on Thursday, I didn’t feel like the baby was coming anytime soon and that I was fine with that. Period. 

We went home and got right into bed – I fell asleep around 9:30 (hey, you go to bed early when you’re 40+ weeks pregnant!). I was fast asleep for an hour and a half when I woke up at 11PM with intense pain in my abdomen. But it didn’t feel like the Braxton Hicks I was used to. In fact, it was so excruciating and foreign to me I was actually convinced what I was feeling weren’t contractions. I paced around our house for 20 minutes trying to figure out what to do. I was sort of still in a sleepy haze and was feeling really out of it. I was standing on my side of the bed when Corey woke up and asked me if I was okay. My response? Whispering…“I’m not in bed, I’m standing up” (um hello weirdo! What was wrong with me?!). He told me he could see that and asked if I thought I was in labor. I told him no that this wasn’t labor but that I was just in a lot of pain and I didn’t know what to do. I laid back down in bed and told Corey I felt like I was hallucinating (still have no explanation for why I was being such a freak of nature!). Corey, being the smart and attentive husband that he is, was way ahead of me. He knew I was in labor. This was it. So he gently tried to convince me that we should finish packing our bags (all the last minute things like toothbrush, makeup,etc). At first I refused. What was the point? I wasn’t in labor and we weren’t going anywhere. Not 5 mintues later, still in so much pain, I decided that we could finish packing the bags if only to distract me from my pain – but still insisted this was not it. 10 minutes into walking around gathering my toothbrush, makeup, etc, I realize that maybe this is in fact labor. 

We start timing the contractions and they are coming quickly. Every 3-4 minutes. And they are bringing me to my knees, literally. The only position that felt somewhat bearable to be in was leaning over the bed hugging a pillow and most of the time screaming into it. Wow, this was intense. I obviously knew labor wasn’t going to feel good, but this hurt so, so bad that I was actually convinced I was going to die before making it to the hospital. I mean, how was I ever going to get in a car like this?! After 20 minutes of timing contractions Corey wants to call the hospital. Me, being the stubborn wife that I am, tell him not to call because we’ve only been timing the contractions for 20 minutes, and I have to time them for an hour before calling otherwise they’ll just think we’re dumb and turn us away. Thank goodness Corey didn’t listen to me and called anyway. After answering a few quick questions (how far apart are my contractions, how dilated was I at my last doctor’s appointment, when was my last appointment, etc) Corey hung up the phone and told me we had been granted permission to come in anytime. Huh? I was so confused. Finally at this point I’m slowly starting to come to terms that we are going to have our baby very soon! Holy crap – this really is it! 

All of a sudden I can think of nothing else than how scared I am to get in the car. I am absolutely convinced that there is no way I can make it through even one contraction anywhere but kneeled over our bed. I cry just thinking about having to labor in the car, even just for the 10 minute drive. This whole time Corey is being so helpful and so supportive through every contraction and he tells me that I will get through it and the car ride won’t take long. Short of calling an ambulance (also another form of a car…) I realize this is something I can’t avoid. So we finish up packing (me taking a break every 3-4 minutes to experience the worst pain of my life) and kiss Henry goodbye (I can’t tell you how much I worried about him seeing me in such pain. He was a little frantic and could totally tell something strange was happening and I hated leaving him behind in such a state). 

In the car the contractions are pretty much just as bad as I thought they would be. Corey is driving like a bat outta hell – which I only know from feeling the acceleration of the car as my eyes are closed this entire time working through my contractions, which are often times coming one on top of the other and giving me no break (we learned later this is called “coupling”. It sucks big time.). I tell Corey I don’t want to die on the way to the hospital to give birth to our baby and he assures me he is being safe. 

We finally pull up to the emergency room parking lot and I now realize I somehow have to WALK inside. But what do I do if I have a contraction? What if they make us sit at the desk and fill out papers or wait for someone to see us? I CANNOT DO THAT I tell Corey. I am paralyzed in the car, by pain, by fear, by emotion. He is standing outside the car while I am still inside, trying to get through my contractions and also convince him that I can’t go in there. Of course I finally do get out of the car and right as I do and am holding my belly crying about how much pain I’m in, two young guys walk out of the emergency room and past us. It felt like the movies! They probably thought I was nuts! Anyways, my fear was all for not. The moment we walked into the emergency room it was very clear to the staff what was going on and that I was in no condition to be waiting around. I got a wheelchair immediately and before I knew it we were being wheeled up to labor and delivery, right into our very own room where I’d be giving birth to our daughter! Hallelujah! 

By this point it is 1AM and the first thing the nurses do is check to see how far dilated I am. I’m 5cm. Yay! Progress! Clearly still working through the intense contractions they ask what my preferred method of pain relief is. Corey responds “early and often”, which is funny, but I wanted to make sure it was clear – I wanted that epidural and I was ready for it right.now. They got the message loud and clear and ordered it up. It takes a while to get the anesthesiologist in, so in the meantime they hooked me up to an IV (first they blew out a vein in my left arm, but I didn’t feel a thing) and then gave me something to take the edge off a bit. By 2AM I was getting my epidural and by 2:30 it was in. I heard a lot of people say the epidural didn’t hurt – which I will completely agree with. And that the only part that hurt was trying to stay still and in a certain position while it’s being administered – which I will also agree with. But overall… OMG EPIDURALS ARE THE BEST THINGS TO EVER BE INVENTED. Major props to all you mamas out there that have given birth naturally. There is seriously no way I would’ve been able to do that. No way.  My epidural was especially amazing because while I couldn’t feel any pain I could still feel the pressure of the contractions and I could even move my legs (I mean, it’s not like I could get up and walk or anything, but I could wiggle my toes and lift up my legs enough to maneuver myself slightly). 

So now it’s just past 2:30AM and the nurses check me again and I’m 7cm! Holy moly, things are moving fast! We hadn’t even called anyone yet to tell them we were in the hospital because one, there was just no time, and two, we didn’t want to ring any alarms in the middle of the night because then what? We’d just be waking people up to tell them to wait for more news! Once I had the epidural and was settled in for a bit (the nurses told us to get some rest and Corey passed out within minutes, me on the other hand was definitely not sleeping, way too anxious) I did make one phone call to my older sister Cristina in LA. She gave me specific instructions that she wanted to know when we got to the hospital no matter what time it was. So she got the call. It was really nice to be able to talk to someone, it put me at ease and made me even more excited. The epidural made me shaky, so that made it a little hard to talk, but other than that I was so happy to share the exciting news with someone that our baby girl was on the way!
By 6:30AM (and a few hours of sleep for Corey and absolutely zero for me) I’m already at 9CM. Everything was happening so fast despite my preparing myself for a long labor. Everyone talks about how first time labors are long ordeals, so I was preparing myself for that. Of course mine was just whizzing past me and at this point I start to get a little panicky. I don’t know if I can do this. I don’t know if I can push, I’m really scared of tearing, I just don’t know! Knowing that the way I’ve been progressing 10CM is just around the corner, I ask our nurse if I have  to start pushing when I’m at 10, or can I wait a little bit? I might be the only person in the history of labors that is actually asking to NOT get this over with 🙂 She tells me that I can let my body “labor down” on its own for a bit, which means that we can let my body just do its thing and push the little lady down into the birth canal (sorry is that too graphic? Not sure how else to say it!) for a while before I need to actively start pushing her out. I’m happy with this answer and feel a little more at ease. 

Just over an hour passes and the doctor on call that morning (not my OB unfortunately) shows up in our room at 7:45AM. As she walks in she sees that Elodie’s heart rate is dropping during contractions as she settles into the birth canal. They help me change the position I’m laying in to make sure it’s not an issue of her chord being wrapped around her neck, etc. and decide that because of her heart rate dropping that there will be no “laboring down” – they need to get her out of there. The doctor breaks my water (but there wasn’t actually any water that came out because apparently Elodie’s head was acting sort of like a cork holding that bag of waters in there!) and then leaves to get ready for delivery. Before she leaves she tells me confidently that she can tell I’m going to be a good pusher. Now the pressure is on! I’m actually not very athletic and didn’t work out much during my pregnancy (pretty much stuck to walking and yoga) so I’m feeling like I might disappoint her! And did I mention she had a c-section scheduled for 8:30AM? No pressure…. 
The doctor comes back around 8ish and starts setting me up for pushing. She gives me a quick run down on how you’re supposed to push and then we waited for a contraction to come so I could get started. At this point I’m full on in the stirrups (great visual, eh?!) and Corey is instructed to help hold my leg back for each contraction as I push. Going into it I was sure that I didn’t want to have a mirror to watch the birth – just not my thing – and I knew I didn’t want Corey “down there” either, but he seemed cool with holding my leg, so we went with it. I wasn’t sure if he would be looking at what was going on, but I was just totally in the zone as I started to push and my eyes were closed the entire time so I didn’t think anything of it. Until it became very clear that he was definitely watching what was going on. You should’ve heard the excitement and amazement in his voice as he helped coach me with each contraction that came. That is actually what brings tears to my eyes. He was so thrilled to be there and to be watching this miracle happen! I can still hear his voice in my head and I hope I never forget what that sounded like. 

Well, apparently the doctor was right about me being a “good pusher” (whatever that means?) because 4 rounds of contractions and only 15 minutes later miss Elodie Elizabeth Denfeld was born at exactly 8:30AM! What can I say about that moment I first laid eyes on her? I was in sheer shock and amazement. She didn’t cry right away and neither did I. I was speechless. She came right up onto my chest for the next hour or so and the nurses told us we had a perfectly healthy baby girl. You have no idea the relief you feel when you hear those words. After worrying for 9 months about this sweet life you’re creating, hoping and praying she will be healthy, that is the best moment ever to hear that she is just that! My heart was so full and so happy. And it’s only grown fuller and happier every day since.

{Birthday Weekend in San Sebastian}

First off, hello! Long time no… blog? This weekend, a good friend of mine asked me if I stopped blogging. I took a quick glance at my blog and realized why. No updates in 20 days, and spam comments running rampant on all my recent posts. Oy vey! The good news is, no, I haven’t stopped blogging – not intentionally anyways. Life has just been really nuts these days (although it feels like this is just status quo now…) with work and visitors and weekends away. I’ve been too busy living life to blog about life, which I guess is a good thing! But the truth is, I really and truly miss blogging and I hope to get back to posting more regularly soon…

I have so many posts to catch up on, but for now I just wanted to share some iphone snaps from our awesome time in San Sebastian this past weekend. We were there for my birthday and it was so incredibly special, fun and delicious (because we stuffed ourselves silly with pinxtos and rioja!). 

P.S. For those of you who’ve asked about what iPhone apps I use to edit my photos – I primarily use Camera+ and Instagram, but for the photos below I used a new-to-me app that is quickly become my favorite called PicTapGo. I highly recommend it! Hope this is helpful 🙂

{Corey’s 30th Birthday in Italy}

A little disclaimer on this post. This blog is just as much for me as it is for all of my lovely readers, so on special occasions such as my husband’s 30th birthday, there are memories I want recorded. I’m aware this post is wayyy too long for most of you, so feel free to just skim over to the photos – no hard feelings. The writing is mostly for me to remember this special day 🙂
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Corey and I met when he was 25. At the time, I was 21 and still in college, so 25 to me seemed really mature and old. Well, not old, but definitely older than me. For some reason, shortly after we started dating, and I was sure Corey was the one, I started obsessing over his 30th birthday. I love celebrations and I love any excuse to go big for them. So in the years since meeting, I’ve had many ideas for his 30th ranging anywhere from a trip to Mexico to a big surprise bash.
When we decided we’d be moving to Europe last summer, I realized all my plans for Corey’s 30th would have to change. The thing that made me the saddest was knowing that his family and friends wouldn’t be able to share in this milestone birthday with him. So, I did two things: One, I planned an awesome trip to Italy for him (who can be sad & homesick when they’re in Italy?!), and two, I got his family and friends involved, from an ocean and continent away. Here’s how it all went down…
The morning of Corey’s birthday we woke up bright and early (4:30AM) to catch a luxurious cab ride (we normally bike to the train station and take the train to the airport) to catch our 7AM flight to Naples, Italy. From Naples we took a series of buses and trains to get to our final destination: Positano, Italy. I’d be lying if I said the journey wasn’t quite a long and tedious one. We touched down in Naples around 9AM and didn’t get to our B&B until 2PM. There were times I started feeling like maybe this was a bad idea – all this traveling on his actual birthday, that’s no way to spend your 30th! …
…Fortunately, the second we stepped into our room at the B&B and saw our gorgeous terrace overlooking the sea I knew this was going to be a very special birthday and it was worth the journey there. There was cake (traditional Italian cake of chocolate & almonds – so yummy!) and wine waiting for us in the room (I called ahead :), so we quickly uncorked the wine, poured two glasses, got into our bathing suits and plopped down on the two sun loungers on our deck. Not two minutes later I sprung out of my chair and announced to Corey that he will now be receiving his gift…
…I disappeared into our room and came back out with a single letter. From me to him. It was more like a novella of sorts, filled with lots of loving words, birthday wishes, and other fun mushy stuff! Also in my letter I informed him that I wanted to get his friends and family to help him celebrate this special birthday, so they all wrote cards and letters for him*. I once again disappeared into our room and this time came out with a big stack of letters. We spent the rest of the afternoon drinking wine, eating cake, staring out at the gorgeous view and reading touching and hilarious letters from his wonderful friends and family. Corey is an incredible son, brother, friend, husband and so much more, and it was so clear in these letters how loved he is by so many people in his life. He makes us all better people and he is always there for us, through thick and thin. And best of all, the guys knows how to make you laugh 🙂 The best quality in a man, I must say!
Before we knew it, we’d gone through all the letters, our skin was rosy from the delicious rays of sun and it was nearing time for dinner. We took a quick scenic walk around our B&B and then came back, got ready and headed out for one of the best meals of our lives at La Tagliata.
La Tagliata is a traditional Italian eatery run by an incredibly sweet family. It’s located in the hills above Positano, so it has a breathtaking view of the city below. The second you arrive you are given a bottle of amazing house wine, a bottle of water, and for us, two glasses of champagne to celebrate the occasion. Shortly after, you start getting plates and plates of food. We never saw a menu – and realized about 20 minutes in there wasn’t a menu! They serve what Mama made that day and let me tell you, Mama knows how to cook! We were stuffed silly by the time dinner was over. The meal ended with glasses of limoncello and the entire restaurant singing “Happy Birthday” loudly to Corey. He was mortified, and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.
I knew the years of planning had all paid off when Corey smiled that adorable smile of his and told me “This was the best birthday I’ve ever had”. It’s a day I don’t think we’ll ever forget. One of the best days ever.

{Photos ©  Liz Denfeld}
*I got this amazing idea from Sarah Tucker, of course! 🙂

{Was It Just a Dream?}

We got back from Italy on Wednesday morning… 
I am not exaggerating when I say it was one of the absolute best vacations we’ve ever taken together.
We truly felt like we escaped our everyday lives & stresses.
We got to soak up sunshine and just love on each other for six days straight.
That’s my idea of heaven.
And now we’re back…
And I’m feeling like it was all just a dream… A very, very good dream. 
I finally uploaded the 700+ photos I took and I can’t wait to share them with you.
For now… One of my favorites of the trip. Hope you have a fabulous weekend!
{Photo ©  Liz Denfeld}

{Away We Go!}

It’s approximately 12:20 AM and the huz and I need to get up in 4.5 hours to catch a cab to the airport and board our flight to Naples! We’ll then take a multitude of buses and trains to arrive in gorgeous Positano, Italy on the Amalfi Coast to celebrate Corey’s 30th birthday! I had grand plans of scheduling posts while I’m away as I have plenty to show you, but alas, life got in the way and it didn’t happen. So I’m sorry to say that you won’t be hearing from me until we return next Wednesday. I’m going off the grid – no Twitter, no Instagram, no blogging, no EMAIL. No nothing. Can you believe it? I hardly think I’ll be able to do it, but I’m going to try real hard. I just want to be as fully in the moment as possible and spend some quality time with the birthday boy before he has to start studying for finals next week 🙂

Hope you won’t miss me too much 😉 I know I’ll miss all of you!! Ciao ciao!
{photo via}

Birthday Weekend Part II: Woodinville & Seattle







*Sorry this post wasn’t working for a while. Not sure what happened, but I re-uploaded all the photos so hopefully it’s fixed!

Saturday morning, after our room service, we packed up and headed out for our next adventure. We were Woodinville-bound for a day of leisurely wine tasting. We had heard great things about Chateau St. Michelle, but were a little wary it would be too “touristy”. As soon as we stepped out of the car we were so happy we decided to give it a try. The grounds are ridiculously beautiful. If you’re ever in the area – I highly recommend you stop by. We also visited Columbia Winery and did some tasting by their gorgeous fireplace. And for lunch we went to the Red Hook Brewery. The beer was great, but the food left a lot to be desired. So sadly I have to say that next time we go, I would skip that.

After wine tasting we drove over to Seattle and checked in to our beautiful room at the Westin downtown. We had an incredible view of the Space Needle and were a quick walk from Pike Place Market and tons of shops and restaurants.

One of my favorite parts of this trip was meeting up with one of my best friends from college and her boyfriend for dinner. It was so thoughtful of Corey to set that up, because he knows how much I miss her! We enjoyed a lovely Italian meal at Il Fornaio, just two blocks from our hotel, then grabbed drinks at Oliver’s – a swanky martini bar.



The next morning we woke up surprisingly early to cloudless blue skies.  Nothing motivates a Pacific Northwest resident like sun and blue sky! We headed down to Pike Place Market for a stroll before meeting up with Corey’s cousin and her boyfriend for brunch at Portage Bay.  The French toast was so yummy. They have a special little pancake/French toast bar that is filled with fresh fruit, whipped cream, nuts, etc. so I piled it all on. I had to go big for one of my last meals of my birthday weekend! Let me tell you: It was totally worth it.

After an amazing weekend, we were reunited with our sweet pup and 70+ degree temps in Portland, so we soaked up the sun and further indulged! I couldn’t have asked for a more amazing birthday celebration. I truly have the best husband in the world for planning out this thoughtful, beautiful weekend!
{Photos © Liz & Corey Denfeld}

Birthday Weekend Part I: Salish Lodge & Spa

My birthday weekend was such a fun-filled extravaganza I have to break it up into a couple posts. Otherwise I fear you would suffer from photo overload!

Friday morning, the morning of my birthday, even though I had the day off, I woke up before I normally do for work. I didn’t mean to. I guess I was excited for my birthday. Or if I’m honest with myself, I was excited to watch the Royal Wedding, which I had recorded. While I laid on the couch with my pup and watched the wedding, drooled over Pippa’s dress and cried tears of joy (and envy – could I relive my wedding day, please?!), Corey went out and got us bagels and coffee. Then, I packed, and we were off.
We headed North for two hours and East for half an hour and pulled up to the impressive Salish Lodge & Spa. It sits at the top of the gorgeous Snoqualmie falls, and the second you walk through the lobby doors you feel a rush of peace and relaxation. There are crackling wood-burning fireplaces everywhere you turn and the whole place just oozes coziness. Our room was so beautiful. Complete with – you guessed it – a wood burning fire place, a pillow top king bed and a giant jacuzzi (with jets! and lights! oh my!). In a word, it was heavenly.

We spent the day going out for lunch in the tiny downtown, then checking out the falls, then playing scrabble and drinking some afternoon tea in the library. I felt so blissfully happy just spending time with my sweet husband all day, it was perfection.

After heading up to “The Attic”, their cute bar/more casual restaurant for a cocktail, we then made our way to “The Dining Room” – the hotel’s 5-star restaurant (ok, so I’m not sure if it was 5-star, but it tasted and looked 5-star!) where we sat at a table with a view of the falls in one direction and the sunset in the other. I also happened to have one of the best meals of my life that night. My scallops were out.of.this.world. Sadly, I don’t have many pictures from dinner because I was just trying to soak it all in and not take my camera or phone out! But trust me, everything was beautiful and delicious!


When we got back to our room we enjoyed a bubble bath, a blazing fire place and David Hill Pinot Noir (we got married at David Hill Winery). I decided this was the best birthday I’ve had yet. Only to be made better by the days that followed. Starting with room service breakfast in bed the next morning.


Tomorrow… Wine tasting in Woodinville and a sparkly night in Seattle.

{Photos © Liz & Corey Denfeld}

Happy Monday!

Well, I’m back from my surprise birthday weekend! Corey planned the most incredible, thoughtful and sweet weekend. I am so ridiculously thankful for him and I can’t wait to show you all the many, many photos I took the last couple of days (including quite a few outfit photos!). But for now, I am exhausted, and I will just leave you with this picture of our view from our hotel on Saturday night. If you’re dying to know where we went and what we did, check out my twitter profile. I was tweeting up a storm and posting lots of pictures! Hope you have a wonderful Monday! And thank you all for the sweet birthday wishes last week, you’re all amazing!