Ten.Ninety-Eight

1. These last few days with no alarm have been nice. But I miss being the first one awake.  

2. I make a meal plan full of things we’ve never had before and this excites me. Newness is good.  

3. Blue heron, white heron, mallard duck. I wish I knew more names of things. To be able to give a thing its proper name is to respect it. 

4. I’m trying to think of all the things I need for this birthday party of hers. It’s not so much a party as it is a gathering of friends. I should just relax. They’re only 8 years old. Anything I do will be just fine.  

5. I pick Gia Mia for lunch.  

6. Mushroom toast, beet salad, calabrese pizza, tiramisu. They always bring two spoons; I am the only one who eats dessert.  

7. I get the potatoes started for the gnocchi.  

8. I miss walking the kids to and from school. I miss the trees and the conversations and the fresh air.  

9. This tomato broth. The kids eat double and triple helpings.  

10. In two weeks I’ll be in Tucson. I have no expectations. I just want to put myself in the way of beauty.  

Ten.Ninety-Seven

1. When my eyes finally open there is so much light. I know it must be late.  

2. 7 AM. It’s okay. I am the source of time. I repeat this to myself while I brush my teeth and wash my face. I tell everyone that they need to get dressed; frozen waffles or granola for breakfast. I apologize for waking up late. Why am I always so quick to apologize?

3. He is talking to me about the paint on the ceiling and unevenness along the trim. He suggests that if it’s too hard for me to do it right then perhaps I shouldn’t do it at all. Noted.  

4. I accidentally press “cancel” instead of disregard. Decide to surrender to the moment and take a break to write my morning pages and eat lunch. Surrender might be the word of the month.  

5. I dig up a resume. It’s 3 years old. I wonder what I was trying to apply for back then. Today I just want an easy part-time gig at the local wine shop. I also spot a social media job for a local high-end grocery store. Food and wine. Food and wine.  

6. Trying to stay open. And keep faith.

7.  Chicken pot pie. I’m making it all wrong. But I think it’s gonna be okay. Fresh sage and rosemary, butter, can’t be that bad. 

8. 2015 Valle Escondido Gouguenheim Pinot Noir. 

9. Belly rubs. I say that I want this to be over but the reality is that I don’t. One day they will no longer need me. But right now they still need me to tuck them in. I love this. I love them. 

10. I want an ice cream cone. Haagen Däz. Something like a praline. Yes. Candy coated pecans and some kind of of caramel.  

Collecting Beauty in Wine Country

I don't want to claim the title "Lifestyle Blogger." It doesn't feel natural on my tongue. Instead, I'm going to call myself a "Collector of Beauty." Yes. A Collector of Beauty. This rephrasing gives me the space to do what I do best which is notice. Really, isn't that what a writer and a photographer should be doing? Noticing?

There's this really fine and faint line between capturing life and noticing it. One can become so consumed with trying to find what they should capture that they miss the real beauty of what's occurring around them. It's why I rarely photography my food before eating it. I want to eat my gnocchi with black truffle shavings while it's still hot. And I want to drink my rosé while it still has its chill. Instead of trying to find the highlights and shadows in the barrel room, I want to listen to her tell me about the fermentation experiments she's conducting. And when I meet her for coffee on Washington Street, instead of thinking about the Instagram-worthiness of the courtyard, I'd rather listen to her tell me about the one time the police got called while she was celebrating her birthday.

Ultimately, I do believe that it's my desire to be so fully present in my life that gives me the ability to see the truly extraordinary moments that exist in the every day. I have to somehow trust that the most important moments will find their way into the little crevices of memory for when I need them most. Because this life is really too good and too big for the viewfinder.

Alas, here are some of the moments that I collected during my most recent trip to Yountville in August.

The North Block Hotel sits at one end of Washington Street in Yountville. Spanish tiles line the staircases and the doors are wooden and heavy and it's so quiet. It's become my favorite little retreat.

The North Block Hotel sits at one end of Washington Street in Yountville. Spanish tiles line the staircases and the doors are wooden and heavy and it's so quiet. It's become my favorite little retreat.

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Redd Wood is known for its wood-fired pizzas but I love the simple breakfast served here each morning for the guests at North Block. Coffee and pastries from Bouchon Bistro are the perfect start to an early morning, but the granola is killer. I'm still trying to get my hands on a recipe.

Redd Wood is known for its wood-fired pizzas but I love the simple breakfast served here each morning for the guests at North Block. Coffee and pastries from Bouchon Bistro are the perfect start to an early morning, but the granola is killer. I'm still trying to get my hands on a recipe.

Isn't this vintage truck just the coolest? Hunter Gatherer is new boutique in Yountville. 

Isn't this vintage truck just the coolest? Hunter Gatherer is new boutique in Yountville. 

After seeing people line up each night before it opened, we decided to give Ciccio's a chance. It's Napa Valley so of course there's great wine, but the cocktails and pizza can't be beat. Cool vibe. It's where the locals go (which is always a good sign). 

After seeing people line up each night before it opened, we decided to give Ciccio's a chance. It's Napa Valley so of course there's great wine, but the cocktails and pizza can't be beat. Cool vibe. It's where the locals go (which is always a good sign). 

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I could spend all day sitting in front of The French Laundry Culinary Gardens. 

I could spend all day sitting in front of The French Laundry Culinary Gardens. 

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It had been awhile since I'd been in wine country in the summer when everything is green and ripening. It was such a treat to be able to touch and taste the fruit. The rolling hills of B.R. Cohn in Sonoma are so beautiful this time of year. Really, any time of year. 

It had been awhile since I'd been in wine country in the summer when everything is green and ripening. It was such a treat to be able to touch and taste the fruit. The rolling hills of B.R. Cohn in Sonoma are so beautiful this time of year. Really, any time of year. 

Ten.Ninety-Six

1. Up before the alarm.  

2. The sky is low and gray. The rain is coming. I light makes the lunches and the bacon and light the candles.   

3: He’s gone and they’re playing quietly upstairs. I step out onto the back stoop again to feel the breeze.  

4. No self-portrait today. There are times when I get bored with myself.

5. Coffee from the Bialetti.  

6. I decide to skip writing for the day and enjoy the quiet by painting the wall that runs beneath the stairs. The funny thing is that I’m so bad at painting but I’m trying not care. I know he’s gonna say something about the paint on the ceiling. 

7. But it’s still black and moody and I love it.  

8. Bewildered. 

9. Boundaries. 

10. Leftover chicken noole soup and fresh focaccia with smoked salt and rosemary. It’s been so long since I’ve had my palms on dough. 

Ten.Ninety-Five

1. I stand outside as the light begins to peek through the clouds. The breeze is soothing. I know there are lunches to be made but I just want to stand there and watch the colors change.  

2. This book came to me at the right time.  

3. I no longer need google maps to tell me how to get there.  

4. This circle of women feels like Home. I want to always be at Home, where ever I am. 

5. Scallops. Lobster bisque. Linguine with clams. 2012 Gilles Noblet Pouilly-Fuise. A quiet lunch at The Turf Room.  

6. It’s time to get back to my wine and spirits studies. I tell him that I’m going to start with Italy first. I think I am ready to begin again. I’ll retake the exam in March. I know I will pass next time. 

7. It never feels like it but there is actually time for this. For all of this. What needs to get done always gets done.  

8. The tops of the trees are beginning to turn. Shades of deep red and burnt-orange and banana yellow. This is my favorite season. 

9. I’ll figure it out.  

10. I decide to clean. The bathrooms needed it. I needed it. This is how I fix myself sometimes—through cleaning. No one bothers me, I can observe my thoughts, I sweat a little. It’s like a meditation.