Monday, November 23, 2015

Favorite Things

I am not a huge Oprah fan but girl has good taste. Her favorite things list always has some great finds so kudos to her staff and all these product PR people (just being real on how these things work).

To help you in this gifting season, here is the 2016 (aka every year) Julie's Favorite Things List. These are things I use/wear/drink at least once a week.

Voluspa Candle - I have a candle problem and my weekly Home Goods run doesn't help. Sometimes I can score a Voluspa candle, which makes me do a happy dance on aisle three | eos Lip Balm - Addicted... I own like six | Papermate Flair pens - These make my to-do lists less daunting

Planner - Tangible planners help my Type-A soul feel a little more organized. Paper Source rocked out some great options this year | Tory Burch Flats - While slightly pretentious, I love Tory flats. Tip to those mommas out there.... next time you visit Disney and the little one lays down for that afternoon nap, run to the Tory outlet.... A.M.AZING! | Wine - My new favorite is Frog's Leap, which is majorly out of my weekly beverage budget but a fun splurge every now and then.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Still Here!

I know you all have been consumed with worry on my two loyal blog readers: my dad and my grandmother. This blog has taken a back seat because we have just been plain busy. Between travel, work, a fast and furious toddler along with just plain life, we have been non-stop these past few weeks. I am glad the holidays are approaching because life just seems to get a little slower with some vacation days and time to unwind.

Here is what we have been up to:

Mary Tilman has been battling some sickness for the past month. Between teething, a runny nose, a cough and now an ear infection, momma needs a break. Yes she had an ear infection even with tubes (I didn't know this was possible). Unfortunately a runny nose due to daycare is inevitable for the next several months. Hello Kleenex stock options!

I am a quarter of the way through my Christmas shopping and am pretty pumped about it. After the Cyber Monday sales are out, I hope to have everything done.

It is weird I think my kid is one of the funniest people I know? She has the best facial expressions and her "words" are priceless.
Top Left | My mom, MT and I went to visit my grandmother in Orlando last month. It was great to spend some quality time with four generations all in one place. This shot was at the airport on the way back home. Mary Tilman met her first celeb, Mr. Will Smith. He called her a cutie as she proceeded to stare at his entourage for walking through her empty terminal, aka toddler play heaven. The mean mug she gave a ba-jillionaire is priceless.

Top Right | Mary Tilman was a pink pig this year for Halloween. I figured I should savor the few choices I have left. It was a hit and she seemed to tolerate it after we wore it for what seemed like a week straight.

Bottom Left | MT loves her dogs... like she squeezes them a lot. Winston (pictured here) tolerates it but Winnie is not a huge fan. We are working on the mutual love and the difference in a soft pet versus a straight-up slap.

Bottom Right | We went to the Pink Pig this weekend and I had to capture the bow. It normally has a 7 second lifespan before it is ripped out and thrown somewhere that I won't find it for at least a week.

My number one goal this year was to be content and boy has that been tough. I am the type to  always think about my next meal, the next trip or the next thing on my to-do list. This was a great post that reminded me the little things are the ones that matter and make up the big moments in life. I have tried to put my phone away for those short two hours before MT's bedtime and to try patience when the toddler spunk picks up. Time is fleeting and passes so, so quickly. One day at a time...

Friday, October 16, 2015

San Fran & Wine Country

Last Thursday Aaron and I jetted out on our first post-baby getaway and to celebrate our five year anniversary. We try to go somewhere each anniversary and I hope that is a tradition that continues.

This year we spent one night in San Francisco and two nights in Sonoma county. I scoured blog posts and travel guides to plan out our trips so I wanted to provide the same.

First up, we rented a car through Silver Car, and I would recommend it to anyone! While only in about 10 markets, you are guaranteed a new silver Audi A4 each time. The rate was cheaper than some comparable big chains and the best part is no lines. We seriously walked by rental counter lines about 30 people deep and right out to our waiting car. Next trip we take I will without a doubt see if Silver Car is there.

Le Meridien - Our hotel was in the financial district. While in a sleepy area at night, the rate was good and it was in walking distance of the Ferry Building. A perk of being a loyalty member is an upgraded room view. We were on the 23rd floor with a balcony view of the Bay Bridge... it was awesome!

Hog Island Oyster Company - We popped in here for lunch and it was great! The Ferry Building venue reminds me of Chelsea Market in NYC so the setting was very industrial and bustling. These oysters though... they could be the best I have ever had and those are high standards.

Fog Harbor Fish House - The restaurant was good but nothing to re-visit on the next visit out. The view was gorgeous though with a great view of the harbor.

Murray Circle Restaurant - We planned to eat at another place for breakfast but a long line prevented those plans. Thanks to Google Maps we found a hotel restaurant at Cavallo Point. This is a new resort in Sausilito over the Golden Gate Bridge and it is a beautiful place. My goat cheese omelet was perfection and Aaron's eggs benedict were not to be missed.

We walked a lot... like 6 miles a lot. We did the corny boat cruise but it was a great chance to see the city from water. They take you under the bridge which makes for some instagram worthy pics. We also rode the cable car which turned slightly scary when we got stuck on the top of a hill. Fisherman's Wharf is apparently the place to go but I thought it was a tacky tourist trap, if that is your thing.

After a visit to Muir Woods, we headed to wine country. We stayed at a Hampton Inn in Sonoma County for the price point but it was a hike to drive all over. I never realized how spread out everything was so plan accordingly before you visit. I did however pick up some places to check out for future trip accommodations. 

The goal of this trip was to reconnect and relax a little so I didn't plan too much or make too many reservations. In hindsight, I wish I had planned earlier to secure a tour time slot for one of the wineries. I did learn however that the smaller the winery, the better.

I heard great things about Frog's Leap Winery and wanted to give it a visit. This place was heaven. For starters the onsite house looked like a Pottery Barn magazine and the grounds were gorgeous gardens. They only take reservations so book early. We did the garden sitting and while I would have liked a guided tour, this was just as perfect. They let you roam the grounds which includes the barrel room and fermenting silos. And their wine... I tracked down the Atlanta stores that sell their bottles so I can stock up. 

We also stopped at two big wineries, Chateau St. Jean and Robert Mondavi, but I prefer the intimacy of the smaller venues.

Dinner was at Farmhouse Inn and it was one of the best meals I have ever had. I tried rabbit for the first time in my life and it was actually quite tasty! The best part was uninterrupted conversation and we got to finish a complete meal without running out with an over-done toddler.

The next day was a day to explore the towns of Napa and Sonoma and of course to partake in some wine. 

Domaine Carneros was a beautiful house with stunning views. And champs is my thing so of course I signed us up for sparkling wine. This was another very busy winery so expect crowds before you go as well as make a table reservation.

Artesa was our afternoon stop and the hilltop views were gorgeous. Another larger winery but we didn't need a reservation to partake. Note they were a little sparse with their pours and the were large groups that reminded me of college.

After walking around the precious town of Sonoma and watching an hour or two of the Alabama game in a local bar, we enjoyed dinner at El Dorado Kitchen. Both the risotto and heirloom tomato salad were superb!

Overall this was an amazing trip and one to reconnect with the Hubs. In hindsight, I wish we had splurged a little on our accommodations in wine country but lesson learned. Until next time!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

First Birthday | Decor

Nothing like sharing details of Mary Tilman's first birthday a month after her party. After the countless hours of hard work, glue gun burns and hours consumed, I could not have been more pleased than the way it turned out.

The theme was pink and gold with touches of glitter. I am saving real themes for when kid opinions come to life.

The food spread featured cake, ice cream bar, fruit, chocolate covered pretzels and macaroons. I decided to go on the light side. The high chair was cute for pictures since Mary Tilman wanted none of the cake.

We had pink popcorn for favors and a fingerprint guest book station that never got used so you will see a repeat of this at a future party.
The beverage station had champagne, beer and water for the littles. Momma need a drink after a busy morning.