Sonoma Wine Country

Things to be Grateful For During Corona Outbreak

Many people are struggling with the whole self isolation thing but for me it’s a great opportunity to do all the things I have been wanting to do for a while. I’m grateful for:

  1. Ability to catch up on reading. I’m currently on my 3rd book since the quarantine started.
  2. Peloton subcription. Although I was been using the bike regularly, I’m finally using the subscription for weight training, running and yoga. The instructors are amazing and very motivating.
  3. Time with my dogs. They’re definitely happy we’re at home 24/7 however they get less park time. Instead, we’ve been focusing on brain games and training indoors.
  4. Time with my husband. It is nice to be able to really chill and have no plans for the day sometimes. We’ve been able to watch the movies we wanted to watch such as Ford vs Ferrari, Jojo Rabbit, Joker and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
  5. Bubble baths. I mean, self care is important.
  6. Cooking. With a bit of extra time,  we want to learn new receipes and make cooking into fun date nights.
  7. Planning our next trip. This one is a bit difficult considering the situation but it doesn’t hurt to think about our next destination.
  8. Local community of farmers and winemakers. Living in Sonoma county is a blessing. Seeing so many local business offer take out, deliveries, and fast and cheap local shipping is great. We won’t run out of wine.
  9. Decorating and organizing the house. I get bored of the same setup pretty easy and using this time to reorganized the closet, book shelves or furniture help with the creative side.
  10. Gardening. Shawn planted his carrots a while ago but now we can add more seeds to the garden plot, add some flowers and add planters to our patio setup.
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Home Office Essentials

It’s always been my goal to work from home. But now, it’s the reality and a necessity for most people around the word. In my opinion, it’s a sign of trust and  respect when companies have a work from home policy. I feel more motivated and productive working from my own space rather than wasting time on commute. However, there are so many distractions if you’re not used to this setup.

First of all, find a dedicated space to call your “home office”. Something bright and comfortable but away from house traffic and noise. I’m able to block the noise easily but most people find it difficult to concentrate on a task.

Secondly, make it your space. Design and attention to detail is important. You need to love spending 8 hours at the desk without going crazy. No need to buy a ton, just add a few touches like a white board or calendar, books for inspiration, flowers, and have easy access to coffee and water.

Third, make sure your space is clean, bright and smells good. Add an air humidifier and some essential oils to keep the space fresh and full of energy. I love using the peppermint oil during the day.

Also, keep a yoga mat or light weights/kettlebell aroung to get a bit of excircise in between tasks. This will help your mind and body to stay awake and alert.

 

Shop on Amazon:

Homasay Essential Oil Diffuser

Lagunamoon Essential Oils

AirPods

5 in 1 Foam Roller Set 

 

Truth about Returning to SFO during the Corona Outbreak

  1. The airplane is sanitized prior to boarding.
  2. Air France gave everyone a hand-wipe after take off.
  3. Most people sanitized their seats and general area with alcohol wipes as soon as they boarded.
  4. Only half the people (if that) wore masks and most of the staff didn’t.
  5. SFO lets people out of the plane in groups of 10. Depending on how full the flight is, you might be stuck in the plane with everyone else for an hour or more.
  6. We had to fill out a form telling them if we had any symptoms of the Coronavirus and if we had travelled to Iran or China recently. We provided our name, address, and the names of people we were traveling with.
  7. Once out of the plane, a EMT took the form and told us to quarantine at home for 2 week and call in if things get worse.
  8. At Customs, the Homeland Security agent went over the same items with you again.
  9. No Coronavirus tests were done or made available at SFO.
  10. No lines at SFO.

Traveling during Covid-19 pandemic

About 6 months ago I surprised my mom with tickets to Paris for her 55th birthday. It just happended to be during my birthday, too. We wanted to see everything we could in Paris, as well as one of the wine regions and other small towns. Up until March things were looking good, but by the end of first week of March, the Corona virus issues started to become more and more pressing. We talked about cancelling the trip but things didn’t seem to be that bad… yet.

In order to not lose our payments for AirBnb (France was not a part of their refund program), we decided to proceed with the trip. The only thing we were really worried about were that the museums would be shut down.

We landed in Paris on the 9th of March and everything was going well. The city was full of people, attractions were open and even sold out. I’m really happy we chose to see the main attractions first. On the first day, we walked from our AirBnb through Le Marais on our way to Notre Dame, through the Latin District, Luxembourg Garden, the Louvre and  Musee d’Orsay. This was about 12 miles of walking with mini stops at cafes and photoshoots. Every Parisian we talked to didn’t think much of the virus and businesses were operating as usual.

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The next day we did another 10 mile walk to see other parts of Paris – we explored the Eiffel Tower, farmers markets in 5th and 3rd arr., visited the famous 24 hour restaurants where we had escargot, frog legs, and plenty of foia gras.

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On the third day, Friday, we received multipe texts and email from friends and family talking us to get to the airport ASAP because Trump is closing the boarders at midnight. After a simple search, we realized that as usual, he’s an idiot and misrepresented the information. Citizens and legal residents were still able to fly in and out and we were safe to continue with the trip.

By Saturday, WHO and mulple countries declared that the Corona Virus is a pandemic, borders are closing, and all shops and cafe are to close down. This news was not appreciated and we started to get a real picture of the problem. France shut down all cafes, restaurants and non essential shop on midnight that Saturday.

On Sunday we went to get some food to have at home for the rest of the trip. The shops were quiet, full of food and wine, and once again the French were just as happy and social as usual. We went on a little walk around the block and saw hundreds of people hanging out in the park, by the river and walking with thier dogs and kids. It seemed like a great plan so we got more wine and bread and got a spot on the river for a picnic (more than a meter away from all others).

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After seeing the response of the public, on Monday afternoon we received the announment that all public gatherings are suspended and their will be a penalty if you’re seen wondering the streets. All Paris residents had to carry a form that stated the reason why they were outside. We still noticed a decent amount of people walking and running. The store had lines outdide only because a limited amount of people were let inside at a time.

We spent our last two days resting in our Parisian flat, eating and drinking like French do. Thankfully there are plenty of little markets and grocery stores all over the place and no shortage of supplies (at least at the time). In a way it was easier to be quarantied there because the city was not in such a despare.

We got to our flight without any issues and the plane was half empty. Before leaving, we were asked to fill out a medical form stating that we do or do not have symptoms of Covid-19. They were letting people off in groups of 10 and then we had to speak with medical personal and give them the form. This process took about 10 minutes which was amazing. We were expecting to be stuck there for hours after reading the news. We were out of the airpiort in no time, so much easier and faster than usual.

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Eiffel Tower, Paris

I know, I get a lot of hate for travelling and not cancelling my trip. However, at the time it was not an isuue. And even during, everything was handeled. We had our masks, sanitizer, gloves, etc.

Now we’re in mandatory quarantine for 2 week. I’m monitoring any changes in my health or everyday functions. We’re staying in, away from everyone else. I will continue writing about Covid-19 as things progress and if I get tested positive.

Keep calm. Wash your hands.

Sonoma Wine Country Guide

The best the North Bay has to offer.

I don’t discriminate against any town in wine country. However, my absolute favorite and my true love is Sonoma! It’s much more chill and laid back compared to some of the other places in the North Bay.

It’s breezy, carefree, and elegant—with just the right amount of indulgent.

Wine Enthusiast just named Sonoma its #1 Wine Region of the Year, calling it “one of the most diverse and progressive winegrowing regions in the world.”

Cline Cellars
Sonoma Wine Country Guide

SONOMA WINERIES

Buena Vista – California’s first premium winery.

Flowers Winery – brand new, beautiful tasting room with outdoor cabanas and indoor tasting rooms.

Twomey – crafting Vineyard-Focused Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot from California to Oregon.

Gracianna – For Those With Something To Be Grateful For.

Cline Cellars – low key and family run and oriented winery focused on Zins and Chard.

HOTELS

Carneros Resort & Spa – luxury retreat with outtanding amenities.

The Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance – beautiful hotel a short walk away from Sonoma Square and a quick drive away from the wineries.

Sheraton Petaluma – is a great option because it’s centrally located minutes away from Downtown Petaluma, 15 minutes to Sonoma wineries and Sonoma square.

Best Western Dry Creek Inn Healdsburg – European looking hotels in Healdsburg located in a more rural area a quick drive away from wineries.

Timber Cove Resort – is a beautiful resort right on the coast in Jenner. It’s located about an hour away from the main Sonoma area but it’s a gorgeous romantic hotel.

 

Beyond the wine:

Drive to the Sonoma coast and explore Bodega Bay

Bodega Bay
Sonoma Wine Country Guide

About 45 minutes from Sonoma is a beautiful area called Bodega Bay, a west coast town that feels like you’re in Ireland. With fresh seafood, local restaurants, and a gorgeous stretch of the Pacific Coastline.

 

Must Do in Santorini

Rent an ATV for a few days to explore the island

ATV in Santorini
North Bay Blonde. Santorini Guide

Getting a cab in Santorini is not easy unless your hotel can call it in for you. And cars aren’t even allowed in main area of Oia. I highly recommend renting an ATV for a day and exploring all Santorini has to offer! The rate is about $30-$40 euros per day, and it’s a lot of fun once you’re used to it. They offer a few diferent option to choose from (size, powers and storage). It’s also easy driving – there’s only so many roads on the island! You can rent them from any of the main areas, or your hotel.

 

Book a catamaran cruise

Catamaran Cruise Santorini
North Bay Blonde. Santorini Guide

We loved doing a sunset catamaran tour with Spiridakos Sailing Cruises. It’s a half-day trip, and they’ll stop at multiple swimming spots (the hot spring are no longer hot so I’d just stay on the boat). After exploring multiple beaches and vistas, you’ll have a big dinner on the boat. After that, they will sail the catamaran to a perfect location to see the sunset. The sunset in Santorini is truly magical! Bring something warm to wear as it will get colder later in the afternoon and you might get splashed a few times. Make sure to take meds if you are prone to motion sickness, the sea can be very rough.

 

Book a wine tasting tour with a guide

Santorini Wine
North Bay Blonde. Santorini Guide

Home

One of the highlights of our stay in Santorini was the small group wine tour to the main wineries on the island. The guide will make your experience very enjoyable and you will learn a lot about the history of Santorini and its wine making. Besides the wine, you will also be able to do food and wine pairing at some of the wineries and see what local cuisine is like.

Some of the Wineries to check out:
Terra Nera
https://www.artemiskaramolegos-winery.com/en/winery-santorini-wines-01.php
https://www.santowines.gr/en/

Book a photoshoot

Photoshoot in Santorini
Santorini Guide

If you’re traveling to Greece on your honeymoon or just want to have a few photos of yourselves with amazing scenery, check out the photographers you can book on AirBnB! It’s affordable and they know the islands much better than you do and can get you in the best spots for photos. I tried them out and we had so much fun on our 1-hour couples shoot. It was a great way to get photos you wouldn’t otherwise be able to get in a beautiful place like Santorini.

 

Wine Lover Gift Guide

For The Wino In Your Life

 

Camille Long Stem Wine Glasses

Why I love this? Badass, Classy and Elegant Red Wine Glasses, Olive Pope Style. The shape of the glass really opens up the wine for allowing great aromas and notes to come through. 

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Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil

Why I love this? The Wine Bible is the most informative book on wine there is. If you’re in the wine industry and want to learn more about wine, this is the book!

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Wine Folly: Magnum Edition: The Master Guide

Why I love this? Wine Folly is a well written book on wine with beautiful graphics and images. 

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Check out there website for more gift ideas:

winefolly.com

Corkcicle Cigar Glass

Why I love this? Their whiskey glasses are a statement piece and elevates the bar/wine area of your house.

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Geo Bottle Stopper Set

Why I love this? These festive and fun bottle stoppers are a great gift or a party favor for any person. 

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Constellation Coasters

Why I love this? Cute and simple coaters are a great addition to any household. They don’t take up a lot of space and you can never have too many coasters. 

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Tiered Bar Console

Why I love this? A bar cart is a great way to add an accent piece to a house without taking up too much room. 

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Bathroon Cabby Tray

Why I love this? Because who doesn’t like a glass of shower wine and a good book/Netflix with a candle. 

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Picnic Basket for 4 People

Why I love this? A good picnic basket is perfect for dates in a park or a winery. This one is even insulated to keep your wine and charcuterie cool (Cline Cellars, Sonoma).  

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Dual Zone Wine Fridge

Why I love this? A dual wine fridge is a great way to store the wines you want to age or just keep away from everyday drinking. Definitely a great investement/gift for a wine collector. 

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Travel Essentials

Genius Pack Hardside Luggage Spinner

Why I love this? Very lightweight and stylish luggage with laundry compartment and pockets for socks/cables, etc.

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AmazonBasics 4 Piece Packing Travel Organizer Cubes Set

Why I love this? Extra cubes to organize all of your clothes, tech and shoes. 

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Foam Neck Pillow with Eye Masks & Earplugs

Why I love this? Most pillow hurt my neck but this one is so comfortable and supportive. The eye mask is perfect for longer flights to help you sleep.

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Travel Safe Disinfecting Wipes

Ummm. Hello Coronavirus. 

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Neutrogena Cleansing Facial Wipes

Why I love this? I love the smell and texture of this wipes. Always makes my face feel fresh and clean.

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Portable Charger

Why I love this? This charges is lightweight and fits on almost any purse, works great on the go.

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Hydro Flask Water Bottle

Because water is life. Or wine. 

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Apple AirPods Pro

Why I love this? I find AirPods or AirPod Pros the most comfortable in my ears and the quality is amazing. 

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Audible Membership

Why I love this? As much as I love to read a real book, Audible is perfect for listening to books on the go. 

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Comfortable shoes

Why I love this? I’m a Nike fan and always find their shoes to be the most comfortable and light. 

 

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Nike Womens Tanjun Running Sneaker

Nike Tanjun Men

Home Gym Essentials

A Complete Guide to a fully equipped home gym. 90% of items can be purchased on Amazon but I also included a few more expensive add-ons.

There’s nothing more convenient and motivating than setting up a gym (even if it’s just a corner in a room).

Free Weights

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Resistance Bands

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TRX Training Slam Ball (6-50lbs)

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Kettlebell

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Non Slip Yoga Mat

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Yoga Blocks

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BlenderBottle Classic Loop Top Shaker Bottle 3-Pack

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Hydro Flask Watter Bottle 24 oz.

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5 in 1 Foam Roller Set (includes Massage Roller with End Caps, Muscle Roller Stick, Stretching Strap, Double Lacrosse Peanut, Spikey Plantar Fasciitis Ball)

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Peloton Bike or Tread (use code DNU39U)

Is Peloton really worth it?

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Power Cage (Squad Rack) with weight bench

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Aside from a pricy bike and rack, you can get your dream home gym set up for under $500. Happy shopping!

 

Training Shoes

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