Family Photos 2016

As we embark on the next chapter in our lives and my husband spends the next 85 days thousands of miles away training for his new job, this photo session came at such a perfectly fitting time (which was completely unknown to us when we booked them several months ago). Marking the beginning of our new journey, these photos are such a beautiful visual memory to look back on while my husband is away and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

This session was done by the incredibly talented Brit Moss (www.britmoss.com). She was such a sweet and comfortable person to work with and her unique Indie-Boho style is everything that I had been envisioning but couldn’t find for the longest time. We are so in love with these photos and now the real struggle is going to be choosing which ones to display around our home.

Cheers and Happy National Wine day,

The Whine Connoisseur

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A new chapter.

When I met my husband, he was a long haired hippie living pretty much paycheck to paycheck. He took the bus to work at a call center where he would cold call for the sales department of a company in the hospitality industry. I would drive him when I could, but due to conflicting schedules and how far apart our jobs were, 8 times out of 10 he was on his own to get to work. As time went by, he ended up impressing the right people and got hired on directly for the company that he’d been cold calling for. He then had to take the bus even farther across town to their headquarters every day for several months until he could finally afford his own car. He never complained about it… he simply did what he had to do to get where he wanted to be in the professional world. One of the most determined people I have ever known, he worked his way up the totem pole and he hustled day in and day out for several years with that company to provide a good life for our family. Today however, I am proud to announce that he has been hired on as a Senior Sales Executive at an even bigger company, and I could not be more proud of that man.

The last few months have been a total whirlwind for us. Once he was approached with the opportunity, we were torn to say the least. Change is scary, especially when it could effect the entire course of your family’s journey. We were posed with the choice between sticking it out at a company that had provided my husband with an amazing stepping stone into the sales world, and a company that was far more established in the sales world. The choice between a company that my husband was successful at but had honestly outgrown, or a company that we were unfamiliar with but who offered a whole new world of opportunity and advancement.

In making our decision, we looked to respected family and friends for advice and support (thank you all, you know who you are), but we mostly looked to the signs. As we sat back and watched the situation unfold, it could not be mistaken that we were being guided towards the right decision. The decision to leave all that we had known for the last four years. The decision to take a risk. The decision that could get our family ahead by leaps and bounds. So, hearts racing and holding hands…we took a leap of faith.

The transition will not be easy, but it will be worth it. It requires my husband to spend the next three months across the country from us for training. I have been spoiled and lucky in the fact that I have not spent more than a couple of days away from him since our first date, and I certainly wasn’t prepared to start now. But life had other plans and we will try to make the best of it. He will be flying home every so often to check in very briefly and we will be planning a trip for my son and I to visit him mid summer. Additionally, his new job is allowing us to still go on a couple of the small vacations that we had planned out prior to the job offer, and those vacations will probably be our saving grace.

Today I dropped my best friend off at the airport and it was one of the hardest things that I have had to do in our entire relationship. I have shed more tears than I would like to admit and I can guarantee you that I will be drinking a bottle of wine and consuming a pint of ice cream in my sweats tonight once my son is asleep. I mean…I’m totally entitled to at least a couple nights of shamelessly wallowing around in my husband missing sadness, right?

Despite how rough this time apart is sure to be, there is no doubt that we have been blessed with an amazing opportunity, and even in my sadness, I know that the most important emotion to feel right now is gratitude. It is key to remain thankful, and it is key to remember that this distance is only a small period of time in the grand scheme of things. There are sure to be plenty of sad and lonely nights during this time apart, but that’s what Facetime and counting our blessings is for.

In 90 days my husband will return with a ridiculous amount of sales training under his belt, and I will proudly watch him conquer his new territory just as he did the last. In 90 days my husband will be back home, and in 90 days we can officially begin this new and exciting chapter in our life, together.

.5 days down, 89.5 to go…not that I’m counting or anything.

Cheers to changes and opportunity,

The Whine Connoisseur.

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When it all began.

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Santa Barbara 2016.

I have to admit that up until now, I never truly appreciated Santa Barbara. Our last trip there was a little more than a year ago. It was off season, it was cold, our son was pretty moody the entire time, we stayed pretty close to the hotel, and I never got a true taste of the area. This time was different and I can now say that I completely understand what the Santa Barbara hype is all about.

What’s great about Santa Barbara is that it’s within 40 minutes of every activity we could have ever wished to do as a family. There’s the beach, there’s plenty of diverse food options, there’s hiking, there’s wine tasting, there’s tourist attractions. I’m telling you, we could have had a whole two weeks longer and done something fun/different every day.

We stayed at Hotel Milo, which is right on the beach and is situated on some pretty stunning property. The appeal mostly ends there however and I’m not sure I would actually recommend staying there (although I’m admittedly super picky when it comes to hotels and I’m sure there are plenty of people who would love this spot). If you’re looking for an affordable property close to the water/pier with plenty of food options within walking distance, then it might be the hotel for you.

Our first day in the area, we went for a morning hike at Nojoqui Falls, which is about 30 minutes out of Santa Barbara. Super short hike, easy for kids, beautiful area, nice and secluded. Only downsides were the not so comforting mountain lion warning sign (had us paranoid the entire time) and the fact that there was no waterfall at the end… Not sure if we went at the wrong time of year for it or what, but the hike was beautiful regardless of its missing waterfall. About ten minutes from the trail head is the Main Street area of Solvang, a quaint tourist town that personally felt like it could make an interesting setting for a horror film… A unique town to say the least. We had lunch at a Nordic cafe there, then we ended the day with a swim/mimosas at the hotel pool, which was probably one of the best features of Hotel Milo.

The second day of our trip after my husbands meetings, we went on our first ever wine tasting adventure. The Santa Ynez area is covered with beautiful sprawling vineyards and is only about a 40 minute drive from Santa Barbara. After doing my research to find the most child friendly vineyard options, we ended up at the Zaca Mesa winery. I was feeling a little hesitant to bring my toddler (who regularly enjoys testing his vocal range) to a wine tasting room, but it actually ended up being totally fine. We were told people bring their kids all the time and the tasting room even had a friendly puppy to keep my son entertained. We got to try six wines, bought a bottle of the Sauvignon Blanc, got some beautiful pictures of the vineyard as a rain storm rolled in, and just had an overall really lovely time. It all left me with an itch for more wine tasting and I’m totally mentally planning a trip to Napa.

The third night of our journey was spent in LA at the Hollywood Roosevelt. The epitome of ‘hip’, the hotel’s target audience is certainly not families with young children, but that didn’t stop us from having a good time and taking over the flamingo floaty at the pool.

Traveling with the little dude typically leaves me so exhausted that I need a vacation from my vacation, but this time was overall about as relaxing as you could hope for while traveling with a toddler . As Liam gets older and more familiar with travel, taking him on all kinds of adventures gets undeniably easier, and for that I am so thankful. The entire way home he begged for “hotel, hotel!”, so I think it’s safe to say he enjoyed our travels as much as we did.

Until next time, California.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur

 

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