I just turned 32 and man does it feel good to celebrate another year of life, love, health, and food!
My birthday is never complete without fine wine, a bad ass chick at my side, and food, lots of food! Saturday kicked off my birthday behavior kicked off in beautiful Napa Valley at Alpha Omega winery. A winery nestled in beautiful Highway 29 between Yountville and St. Helena. Jonathan and I are wine club members to this winery and fell madly in love with their chardonnay for its unique flavor. The views of the mountain and vines as you sip wine and enjoy the company of your friends and sunshine make some of my favorite moments in life.
That day my friends and I ventured to three of my favorite wineries, Maisonry located in downtown Yountville, Alpha Omega, and my current ultimate favorite VGS Chateau Potelle. VGS stands for Very Good Shit and the name absolutely suits it. The biggest draw for me at VGS is their food and wine pairings because winemaker Jean-Noëlle says "Wine is like pepper and salt, it is another spice to food." They pair an incredible seasonal small bite menu from La Toque. with his exceptional wines. A definite treat and must try if ever you are traveling to Napa Valley. The best thing about the experience is that since this is a smaller production, you get more of the personalized service and attention unlike some of the larger more widely known wineries. I'm known to be a bit of a wine snob and have a deep love for wine!
Sunday was my actual birthday and I woke up with this in mind, "Holy shit so this is 32!" I never imagined my life to be where it is today. When I was young, naive, and 18 I had dreams of traveling the world SINGLE at 30 and just barely thinking about getting married and having a family. Boy, was that one life goal that did NOT work out for me! My day started off with a 6AM workout session and a very brief, wildly interrupted 15 minute morning nap. Which was followed by a healthy breakfast in bed, made by my husband.
No birthday is ever complete unless you spend it with your squad and this year my squad was my entire family which includes my in-laws, sister in-laws, their families, and The Valdizno clan (my side of the family).
The last family photo like this since one was on our wedding day nearly 8 years ago, and man was it an incredible memory to have. My mother works hard at a retail job and rarely gets to take weekends off. As a matter of fact, she doesn't even take Mother's Day off unless we force her to be us. So having her there, was a gift in itself.
The relationships and connections with all the people in this photo have come so far, especially in my side of the family. Growing up, my home wasn't perfect. We fought constantly, we never saw eye to eye, I was even arrested and put in juvenile hall for 5 days because of a fight between my brother and I and guess who called the cops MY SISTER! (this will be another story) Occasionally, I'm still coming over to my folks' house to help solve small differences between the men in the family. Despite all of this incredibly colorful history, WE HAVE ALL accomplished so much as a family and have built some of the strongest bonds and nurturing encouragement one may ever come to know.
Let me make this clear, we are far from perfect, but there is a lot of love here that started off with forgiveness.
Besides my daughters and husband, my parents are the absolute driving force behind all of the things I want out of my own life. It is true when they say, "You will never understand until you have a family of your own." When I think about my life goals and what I want out of the next 10 years I think back to the one thing that my parents always taught me BE A GOOD EXAMPLE AND LOVE PEOPLE. And in order to love people, I have to learn to love myself, my own life, and seek out the opportunity for positive living in each life experience. Growing up my mom always said to me, "You have to learn how to be a good example." At 32, I think I understand what she means by that: live a life that your parents, your kids, and your life partner can be proud of, but most importantly be proud of yourself.
I'm not rich, we don't even own the house we live in. I have a past that I'm not too proud of, but learning from my mistakes. I'm known to follow my passions, which sometimes makes me feel like I don't know where I'm navigating myself through life. But if this is what it means to be 32 and counting, then give it to me baby because it is absolutely gorgeous.
Also...I cry at everything. My husband was trying to take the sweetest photos of me and he came up to find me in tears of joy from all the birthday wishes from everyone and EVERYWHERE; the brunch with the fams and all his efforts of making this an incredibly special day. Seeing these in his camera made me laugh so hard that I had to share.
Everyone at my office thinks of me as one of the toughest managers and on the outside I may seem like some bad ass who works out and lifts with the boys, but the reality is I get emotional and cry at everything.Also...I cry at everything. My husband was trying to take sweet photos of me and he came up to find me in tears of joy from all the birthday wishes from EVERYWHERE, the brunch with the fams, and all his efforts of making this an incredibly special day. Seeing these in his camera made me laugh so hard that I had to share.