A WEEKEND IN CALIFORNIA WINE COUNTRY AND THE SCOOP ON ORGANIC GRAPES

We grow like the vines, suspended in time, gaining deep roots, learning our true nature. The greatest pieces of each of us lie in our commitment to that growth and desire to let our paths unfold in a way that is clear and true, not elegant and perfect– although ultimately the universe makes it so.

Recently I turned the big 2-9, which is not yet the big 3-0, but I’m still feeling like this will be a big year. A ton has happened (see previous posts) and I feel like I may be entering in to that phase of life where I’m truly coming in to my own. Welcoming new experiences and people, stressing about what I’m going to “be” when I grow up, but knowing that I’m getting closer and closer and in the meantime finding contentment in the present moment, the experiences I’m so grateful to have while also embracing the unknown.

I love wine country so when Wyatt asked me where I wanted to go for my birthday it was an easy choice. This trip was absolutely amazing, and Wyatt and I had a truly incredible time, it felt like we were much farther than 1.5 hours from home. We tried tons of great wine, didn’t spit much of it out ( or really any for that matter) and got to reconnect with each other in the beautiful setting of vines and rolling hills. Having visited a lot of wineries throughout America and France I was so pleasantly surprised by the selection of wineries in Napa and Calistoga. The vines are perfect but not all white with spray and the hills (see Long Island wineries, gross) are lush and gorgeous. Here’s a recap of the trip in photos.

First stop, Public Market in Napa. Had to eat at Ca’Momi, the amazing pizza place I’d tried the weekend before during Wanderlust Squaw Valley. The pizza is so good and seemed like a great chose before starting tastings.

Super cute little shops really reminded me of Chelsea Market (I miss you!!) with a wine country twist. Loved this little home store full of eclectic housewares and fun books like this one, obviously an important read for every foodie!

WINERIES WE VISITED AND THE SCOOP WITH ORGANIC WINES

We loved the first winery we stopped at in Napa called Frog’s Leap. They had such amazing wines and even better, a gorgeous garden full of every veggie you can imagine, so freakin’ awesome! We visited this winery because it was on the list of organic wineries in the area so of course I asked the tasting staff a whole bunch of questions about what that really means; Are there no pesticides? Are the grapes grown differently? What’s the deal with sulfites? I was really intrigued and surprised by the answer, here’s what they have to say:

‘Believing that a grapevine should be grown in healthy soil that supports all the nutrient needs of the plant, Frog’s Leap has been farming organically since 1988. We also believe that most of the great and historic wines of the world have been made from non-irrigated grapevines, and to that end Frog’s Leap farms all of its vineyards without irrigation.

We adhere to the premise that the greatest wines are those that most truly reflect their soil, climate and circumstance (collectively referred to as “terroir”), and that it is the winemaker’s role to simply stand back and let the natural beauty of the grapes show through.

We don’t make great wine, we grow it.’ –Frog’s Leap

Super cool, right? Totally. But, here’s the tricky part. Almost all wines contain sulfites, a sulfur compound used to increase shelf life, stop yeast from growing and kill bacteria in the wine. Sulfites also bring out the pigments in wine and make red wines redder. In the U.S. organic wines must be both grown organically an also have no added sulfites, while in the Europe the distinction means that the grapes are grown organically but may or may not have added sulfites. So, are sulfites really bad for you? In small quantities no, however, more and more sulfur is being added to processed foods, so limiting intake of those foods and drinking organic wines is recommended to not overdo it. A small percent of people (appx. 5%) are very sensitive and need to avoid sulfites at all costs.

Should you buy organic wine?

The basic answer-Yes. Whenever possible. On top of sulfites, the other problem with non-organic wines is the prevalence of toxic chemicals, fungicides and pesticides that can wreak havoc on health. Pinot Noir drinkers should be especially cautious as this varietal is very difficult to grow without the use of pesticides.

THE FOOD

The ‘too pretty to eat’ beet salad ever at SolBar

Veggie breakfast skillet with poached eggs from SolBar Calistoga

Our cute little corner table with a view at Calistoga Kitchen. Amazing food with sweet local charm. I had fresh hand made pasta and Wyatt had slow cooked pork ribs that had been cooking all day on-site. The chef came out to talk to each table, creating a really great vibe!

SOLAGE RESORT AND SPA CALISTOGA

This pool was ok…;) (photo via Solage Instagram)

Solage provides each room with their own bikes for the duration of the stay. We got some bike riding in to Lava Vine, a neighboring winery and also a bit farther to Envy Wines. Both were lovely and the ride over was completely awesome!

The spa pools were incredible with private men’s and ladies areas for clothing optional bathing and steaming. I also had an amazing mud bath style treatment with a twist. I watched my mud be handmade and chose an aromatherapy oil to go in it. Next, I went in to a private sauna when the mud was applied and allowed to set for 20 minutes and then rinsed off completely. Step two, I was led to a private bath and soaked for another 20 minutes. The room was so airy and bright, heaven! Finally, I got to lay in a 0 gravity chair (what!?) and put headphones on and almost instantly fell asleep. Afterwards, my skin was super soft and smooth and felt incredibly refreshed. Highly recommend this treatment if you go.

Solage is all about fitness, with a full gym on-site and a yoga studio we were able to work off a few of the million calories we ate and drank each day.

Cruisin’ thru the vines

Solage is such an amazing mix of hip, classy and laid back we absolutely enjoyed our time there. Pure luxury and they’ve literally thought of everything!

CABO SAN LUCAS TRIP DETAILS AND LOTS OF PHOTOS

Now that we  live in California the need to escape to the beach in the winter is not nearly as emergency level, but it’s still so nice to get away and take a break together and just re-connect with yourself and your significant other.

This post has a lot of photos, which I don’t usually do, but to give a little background, I used to love photo shoots. When I was a dancer we took pictures all the time in tiny costumes, on top of buildings, pretending to be super models. Growing up as an actor I feel in my element in front of a camera and although I’m definitely not a top model, I just have a lot of freaking fun shooting pictures, it’s a creative outlet for me. However, in the last few years I’ve stopped taking pictures almost altogether. I’m still in my twenties (not much longer), but I feel like my body is a lot different than it was in my early twenties so like every woman everywhere I guess I’ve become a bit self conscious. However, now that I’ve started sharing more about my life here at Fresh and Fierce I’ve also started taking more photos of my day to day and while traveling, and totally love it again! Wyatt talked me in to shooting some pics in my new high waisted swim suit on our recent trip to Cabo San Lucas Mexico and we had so much fun! I was really happy to get some good shots of my Tattoo that I had done in Williamsburg over a year ago at Eight of Swords, the owner Dave is an amazing artist! More on that someday…but for now let’s talk about the beach…

Cabo recently experienced a really bad hurricane, but the area has rebounded surprisingly well. A lot of the resorts are still closed, but Cabo Surf, where we stayed, was back up and running with a whole new wing of rooms and a great beach! I loved the laid back vibe of Cabo Surf, there were only a few people on the beach each day and the resort was quiet and the staff very friendly and helpful. This hotel is not near the main tourist drag, so we were thankful the food was good and we didn’t really have much reason to leave. The rooms were very nice and we could hear the waves crashing every morning, so great!

Now that I’ve tried out a high waisted suit, I think everyone needs one! This one was around $20 on Amazon. I wasn’t sure if I’d like it so I didn’t want to spend a lot to try it out. Sun glasses are from Urban Outfitters and hat is from Amazon as well, and was great because it could be totally scrunched up in my bag. The earrings I got in Thailand at a market and unfortunately lost one on this trip, sad! The whole ensemble was very affordable.

Ok , so moving on from my silly posing to the coolest thing we saw while on the trip, Whales!! I’ve seen a lot of sea life before, but this was a first and totally amazing experience, I can’t even describe it. We went on a super cheesy, but admittedly fun pirate boat and got great views of the whales. We (W) got these awesome shots. As soon as we left the dock a baby whale and his mama were playing in the bay, jumping and flipping their tales, so cool to watch! At one point the whale swam right under our boat!

Every year several whale species migrate from the chilly Arctic waters to the Baja Peninsula where the temps are just right to give birth and rear their babies. I totally get that, I’d rather have a baby in warm water than cold! I’d recommend going out on a small inflatable boat in you get the chance to get even closer to the action!

Food: For me, the most important part of visiting any place is experiencing their food, and finding a good salad if at all possible. We ate some amazing food in Cabo, which kind of surprised me since I haven’t had that experience in every part of Mexico. Our resort had great food and we went in to San Jose Del Cabo with friends to have a meal as well.

Flora Farms was my favorite. It’s a really popular farm to table spot where Adam Levine apparently got married. I see why he would pick the venue, it’s so gorgeous, and although we got there just as the sun was setting still got to see the beautiful gardens in their full kale-growing glory.  This restaurant was certainly a highlight of the trip. Such great food and ambiance, it’s like a trendy New York hotspot, but in the middle of nowhere. We had an amazing meal in the garden and I got some shots of the surroundings including this over the top palm tree, farm stand of veggies grown on-site, and my tasty carrot margarita.

We were so lucky to have some friends in Cabo as well to show us around. They took us to the beach one day where we lounged around and drank beer and ate guac. Ahhh, vacay, how I love you! If you find yourself getting married in Cabo and need amazing bridal hair and makeup you have to check out our friend Neysa, she is so talented and will definitely make you look fierce on your big day!

Hope you enjoyed this photo filled post, I certainly had fun writing it! Look for more travel posts on the blog soon!

Have you been to Cabo? What did you love? Let me know in the comments.