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My Favorite Things About Spring

I decided I wanted to write a post about my favorite things about Spring because I feel like as I’ve gotten older I’ve despised Spring for a couple of different reasons.

  1. Allergies – I never had this problem growing up, unlike my brother Chris who suffered horribly growing up. But as an adult, holy crap it’s awful. It seems the only thing that works for me is Flonase, and even that I can only do every other day because it gives me nose bleeds. I mean, it’s a beautiful time of year but it wreaks havoc on my allergies.
  2. The weather is unpredictable – rain one day, 75 degrees another, 45 degree mornings and then 70 degrees mid-day. I know, I know, dress in layers…but come on!

So, those are a couple of things I don’t like about Spring, BUT there are many more great things than bad so I thought I’d round them up.

  1. Though the weather is crazy and unpredictable, when we do have those 75 degree days, and almost warm evenings it’s a hint of summer nights to come and it always gives me a nostalgic feeling of summer evenings when I was a teenager.
  2. Some of my favorite holidays are during the Spring and Summer. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, my birthday, mom’s birthday, countless friends have birthdays during these months as well – it’s just a time to celebrate others.
  3. Travel! I seem to travel more during these Spring and early Summer months. It’s a good time to get out of town and hangout by a pool.
  4. Mani and pedi colors move into those bright happy colors (at least for me), not so much of the purple, black and reds, but bright and light pinks, and pedicures are more frequent 🙂
  5. Concerts! I’m a huge music lover and it’s the time that music festivals, and summer tours are beginning to launch. This year, just like last, I will kick-off summer with the BottleRock Music Festival in Napa over memorial weekend.
  6. That’s the other thing! 3-day weekends! We go from having a ton of time off during the holidays to just trudging through the workdays and weeks. The warmer months introduce 3-day weekends a plenty.
  7. Your skin warms up and if you’re like me, so does your hair! I’m pretty fair complexion, and as I get older and freak out about being in the sun, I am gradually whiter and whiter every winter (hahah) but the natural warmth your skin color takes on during the warmer months is always nice, and naturally my highlights grow a little brighter too.
  8. It’s lighter out longer! Does anyone else agree that it should always be light out until 7pm? I mean, it just lightens everyone’s mood! Though, don’t get me wrong, I feel like it takes me 3 months to get used to losing an hour, but it’s worth it!
  9. There are baby animals everywhere! Little baby birds, baby squirrels – it’s the cutest and how can you not appreciate Spring for that one thing alone?
  10. Everything is green! If you get enough rain – which we hadn’t in many years – but have in the last couple, then you have a tiny bit of time to enjoy rolling green hills before they quickly turn brown during the summer months. It’s not long, but it’s enjoyable while it’s here.
  11. No more being sick! I mean, a spring or summer cold is still common, but bye bye flu season and all that other nasty stuff that is floating around during the winter months.
  12. Windows can stay open all day and night! I have to admit, I’m one of those people who will leave my windows open even just a crack until I can barely stand the cold any longer, so when you can leave them open all day and night for that spring/summer fresh air it’s amazing!
  13. Outside activities…and I don’t mean running, biking etc. outside, I mean one of my favorite outdoor activities which is wine tasting. I live very close to wine country that I think only locals know about (Livermore Valley), and it is one of my favorite things to do. Granted, I will go wine tasting whether it’s storming rain or not, but it’s so nice to pack a lunch and sit on the grass in the sunshine, drink your wine and visit with friends and family. Day drinking anyone?
  14. BASEBALL! I’m a huge Oakland Athletics fan (you read that right, I live in the Bay Area and I am NOT a Giants fan, it’s all about how you’re raised right?) Anyway, Spring indicates that baseball is back and whether you’re heading to Spring training in Florida or Arizona (which I’ve done many times), it means opening day is around the corner, and there is nothing more relaxing to me then sitting in the ballpark on a mild evening or a warm spring day and watching some good old baseball, drinking a beer and eating a hot dog.
  15. It’s wedding and baby season! I have to admit, this is the first year in a long time that I don’t have a wedding to attend this spring, but there’s plenty of babies being born! I guess that’s how it works, right? Weddings galore in your twenties, and then booth the babies start like 5-10 years later. Either way, it’s a reason to see friends and again, celebrate!

What are some of your favorite things about Spring? I’d love to read them!

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Italy Adventures: Tuscany Edition

italy-adventures-tuscany-edition

Dear readers – this is my last “Italy Adventures” blog post…but have no fear (wipe your tears) there are always more adventures around the corner that I’ll be excited to share with you, so for now here is the final edition – Tuscany style!

I have to be honest, when I thought of Italy I didn’t really think of Tuscany. Don’t ask me why – I mean, I’m a huge wine lover etc. but it wasn’t at the top of my list. However, a couple of the girls were interested in visiting Tuscany so we added it to the itinerary. I would say the only downfall to this Tuscany trip was that many of the little towns/villages we visited were essentially closed for holiday. It would have been nice to see the bustling little towns and have the ability to walk into many of the wine shops and cute little stores but the ones that we were able to visit were definitely not a disappointment.

We decided to rent a car and drive up to the Tuscany/Siena region. It was approximately a little of an hour drive through the beautiful countryside. Our first stop was in San Gimigniano in Siena. Holy smokes it was cold there! But it was absolutely beautiful. We walked around the little town and climbed to the top of buildings to take in the countryside view. It really was stunning (despite our chattering teeth). Once we wrapped up there we hopped in the car and drove to Montepulciano where we found it was also quiet and a lot of shops were closed up, however we did find a yummy place to eat where I think I ordered the most beautiful raviolis I’ve ever seen! We walked around there a bit more, had some espresso, and hopped back in the car as we had probably about another 1 hour long drive to our Airbnb.

We definitely got a little lost on our way to our Airbnb – I think mainly because the little cottage we were staying in was well off the beaten path, and not well marked. We had to go down a narrow gravel road (as the sun was setting – we were hoping to get there before it was dark), then drive onto someone’s property (of whom we hoped was going to be the Airbnb host). I had received correspondence from the host letting me know that she was going to be at university when we would be checking in, but that her Dad would help get us settled. She then said that he doesn’t know any English, but that he was very friendly…uh oh. We drove onto the property and were promptly met with a little dog that was barking at us like crazy and trying to jump into the car through the driver side window. I had no clue who I was supposed to be looking for and this little old lady comes out to see what all the commotion is about with the dog, sees our car and then takes off back into the house. We were all just sitting there trying to figure out what our next move should be.

Eventually a man walks out – who we assumed must be our host’s dad. He walks up to the car and we are trying to tell him we are there to check into our Airbnb. Nothing is triggering in terms of word recognition – Stephanie is having a hard time communicating with him (and she knows more Italian than all of us combined!) and Kelly had been getting by fairly well on this trip since she knows Spanish fluently – but even that wasn’t really working…so then we say his daughter’s name, Sabrina. Ding! Full recognition and now he knows why we are there. So he guides us to the cutest little cottage, on the prettiest winery we’ve ever seen!

We get inside and he starts showing us where everything is and how it all works. Then we ask him where the nearest store is – he pulls out a map and shows us where to go. He takes our passports to make a copy – he’s gone for a few minutes and returns with wine he has made there on the winery! It was the sweetest gesture. We thanked him and then headed out for the store. We stocked up on meat and wine and cheese and some frozen pizzas (hah!) seems funny now but we were only staying one night. When we returned we all settled in and started cooking and opening wine and just having a nice relaxing evening.

A little while later Sabrina and her Dad come by to make sure we are settled and have everything we need. They truly were the kindest Airbnb hosts. She told us to take our time leaving in the morning – which was nice to not have a set check-out time, and then her Dad said something to her in Italian – she smiles and says, “My Dad wanted me to tell you that white and red wine don’t mix well together.” We all started laughing! Her dad had brought us his homemade red wine and we had purchased a couple of bottles of white while we were at the store. We promptly told him we were pros and we could handle both (which we did). He smiled, and shrugged. We were sure to leave him a nice note about how much we loved his wine before we left the next morning – because it really was absolutely delicious. After they left we settled in and just had a night full of laughs and good conversation.

When we rented the car there was this issue with the car not having snow chains. Apparently, in Italy all rental cars need to have snow chains. I was thinking to myself that I know it’s freaking cold, but really snow chains? Well, we didn’t get snowed in, but we definitely saw snow! We woke up the next morning to see that mother nature had dumped snow all over the vineyard. I had never really seen a snow covered vineyard, it was beautiful.

We took our time getting ready and leaving that morning and headed for another little town in Montepulciano. It was still VERY cold and the little town was pretty much closed up but we did do a little wine tasting, and ate delicious food! We spent a little bit of time there and then hopped back in the car to head back to Florence.

This trip was fantastic (obviously). I think I officially have the travel bug and cannot wait to plan my next big international trip. Most importantly though, this trip opened my eyes to something. I’m going to be 34 this year, I’m unmarried and don’t have any children. For me that was not in my grand master plan (but who has a grand master plan that actually falls in place?) nonetheless, I believe that everything happens for a reason. There is a reason and a bigger plan for me to be unmarried in my almost-mid-30’s – I have the time, the resources, and a job that enables me to take this time off to travel. I know that people still travel once they’re married and have kids etc., and as selfish as this may sound – this trip was mine. It will always be mine. I shared it with some FANTASTIC friends, but it will always be my first trip to Italy – it will always be before getting married and before having kids, and something just plain special about that. I think having this time in my 30’s to do these things is why all that other stuff is on hold, and I’m more content with that then I’ve ever been.

Life is good – and all that other stuff will come in time and make life even better, but until then I will embrace these opportunities and take advantage of the adventures I get to take with some of the coolest people I know.

Ciao!

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