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.