Cabin in the Woods

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For the 20th anniversary of her 25th birthday, my friend Ina decided to experience wine tasting in Paso Robles. MSM and I have touched on wine tasting here, but we only went to two vineyards (see my post from last thanksgiving), so I was more than excited about this trip. Ina wanted to make sure she could bring her fur child, Elvis, so she searched through Air BnB for dog friendly locations. She couldn’t have picked a more spectacular place than the one she picked! Nestled in the “town” of Templeton, this secluded cabin in the woods was a breathtaking hideout and the perfect getaway. Its also a perfect place for Halloween!

Upon arrival we weren’t sure into what we were getting. At one A.M (we had to leave after a class I’m taking that ends at 10pm)  MSM plowed up a steep incline ensconced in brush and  filth, hardly indicative of a road. Damion, Ina’s husband, was whispering Jason’s infamous “chachacah ahahah”. Where was this place?? Up and around a hill and suddenly the cabin was revealed. At this point we were expecting something straight out of the film Army of Darkness (or Friday the 13th), but instead before us was a beautiful cabin with an exterior enveloped in immeasurably large windows. The interior was modern with built in book shelves FULL of books. The house came equip with an outdoor BBQ and a gorgeous galley kitchen, Wusthof knives and all clad pans included. Any chef would have been excited. Ina was allowed first dibs on rooms, since it was her birthday :). She picked the upper loft so MSM and I stayed in the downstairs room covered in windows. I LOVED IT. It was like sleeping in a tree house! The windows in this house had no curtains, but when the sun came up in the morning it was so peaceful the light did not deter our sleep. I felt home for the first time in a long time. We were surrounded by trees and sky and blue jays. It was wonderful. Even our shower was completely open to nature (yep, floor to ceiling windows in the bathroom). It was so much fun to wash up in what felt like a real waterfall!

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A view with a shower or a shower with a view?

After eating a gourmet breakfast of veggie scramble with toast (prepared by our men), the wine tour van picked us up for a fun day of wine tasting. And yes, with our help, they were able to find the abode. Though we had to walk down the hill. hahaha.

Vineyards of Paso Robles:

Midnight

Midnight Vineyard was our first stop and was probably my favorite. The hostesses were so sweet and gave us great education on their wines. Also they had an adorable dog-like cat that just came to greet us and then curled up by our feet. This vineyard produced a white wine that I really enjoyed. I’m not a big white person, but it was dry and crisp and delicious.

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I had such a great time walking around the grounds of Midnight. Ina and I climbed onto a tractor, a reoccurring motif throughout our afternoon.
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Chardonnay is Midnight’s 19 year old Vineyard cat. She was a ferrel cat that adopted the owners a long time ago. So sweet and adorable. It was love at first sight for her and I. 

 

Dark Star

Despite the cool name (reminds me of Star Wars for some reason…) MSM and I sat this one out, so we did not taste the wine. BUT we did meet these two cuties:

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At Dark Star we met the rest of our pack. These two lovely blondes and their family joined us the remainder of the day. 

 

Red Soles

Red soles was a huge hit. The wine was very good, especially the Rosé. ANNNND, Red Soles is also a distillery which the rest of our crew loved. MSM enjoyed their limoncello and Damion liked the rum. The hard stuff somewhat reminded me of rubbing alcohol, so I stuck with wine.

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Always a sucker for the footprints. And Rosé.

 

J. Lohr

J. Lohr was Ina’s birthday pick, and I can see why. The wine here was quite good. The grounds were stunning. Here we stopped for a picnic lunch before our tastings.

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Another Vineyard dog. Who can say “no” to a corgi? Not me! Look at that face!

 

Via Vega

Via Vega was the last leg of our tour. A very amusing vineyard, but not the best wine in the world, in my opinion. I don’t like writing negative reviews, so I’ll try to be constructive here. I’m not sure if I just need to revisit Via Vega under different circumstances because the owner was in a hurry to close up this day in order to get to his beloved annual Beaver Festival. I DID like that every year Via Vega produces a stock whose wine sales are used to raise money for their neighboring Zoo. I appreciate the philanthropic notion as well as anyone that promotes something to help animals. Unfortunately , I felt this place was a “vineyard for beer lovers”. During the tasting they didn’t really educate us about the wines at all, the owner just poured our ounces and told stories about himself. When we first arrived we were peeking about the nooks and crannies of this unconventionally decorated tasting room and the owner basically yelled at us to “get on with it” so that he could close early. He came across as a bit abrasive, which turned me off from the wines. Wasn’t loving his vibe. But i DID love their vineyard dog.

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I didn’t love the wine at Via Vega, but their dog was ADORABLE! I’m really excited that all these vineyards are so pet friendly!
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Another tractor to crawl on. This one channeled my inner Ronald Miller 🙂
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Birthday girl with the two adorable golden’s that joined our tasting entourage.

 

Denouement

After a day of wine tasting we were all exhausted. Big Chill Style, we cooked a great Curtis Stone recipe for dinner (we were all slicing and dicing). We ate, and pretty much crashed on the sofa until we moved into our respective beds. Even Elvis was tired.

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Elvis guarded the house while we all relaxed after a long day of wine tasting and vineyard exploration.

The next morning MSM and I took a hike around the property. The whole place was landscaped with secret spots and benches. It was incredible. So quiet and inviting but interesting with its little hints of horror movies- for example a small unfinished shed out back, or the murder of yellow jackets that swarmed around us (Damion was stung, thank goodness he’s not allergic!). After our walk the guys watched football and I did something I’ve been wanting to do FOREVER. I grabbed a book, laid down on a surprisingly comfortable futon, and, with natural sunlight abundant, I read. No interruptions. It. Was. Incredible.

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Inside the Cabin In The Woods was an opulence of books and natural light. A reader’s dream. Coffee mug is actual size!

We all discussed visiting here again some day. I can not WAIT!

What the heck to wear while wine tasting in Paso Robles:

Answer: Layers. I think I said that last time. It was cool in the morning and then became abruptly HOT HOT HOT.

Second answer: Comfortable shoes. Heels are great and sexy, but not the best idea here. Especially if your like me and you like to explore the surroundings.

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This Layer was comprised of: Shoes: Fendi  Shorts: One Teaspoon  Top: Charlotte Russe (i.e wear something you can spill wine on and not care) Above: outfits Top : current elliott Tank: Jackelope, Austin  Shorts: Joie  Sneakers: Asics
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This seemingly hot fedora from Rag and Bone was the perfect protection from the sun. Oddly my head didn’t over heat at all. I definitely recommend a fedora when wine tasting. They protect you from the sun and are so stylish!

J’aime boire du vin rouge à midi! <– I’m learning something from duo lingo! 🙂

More later…..

xo

QJ

QJ

All in for Autumn.

PDetail2I don’t miss much about living in the mid west but I can admit that I do miss the one week in Autumn when the beautifully colored leaves paint the sky, reflecting water-color like portraits onto the lakes. Air that is crisp and fresh but not bone chilling, bracing just enough to rejuvenate the soul.

The Pacific Palisades Pumpkin Patch:

This year is the first time in FOREVER that I have gone to a real pumpkin patch. Well, as real as one can find in Los Angeles. With a backdrop of trees and hills and the glorious sounds of children laughing, the YMCA Pumpkin Patch in the Pacific Palisades most definitely delivered. There was a maize maze – albeit a short one (but who can complain? It was the perfect height for my inner child :)), hay bundles with scare crows, faux spiderwebs, and, most importantly, a brilliant selection of pumpkins!

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What to wear to the Pumpkin Patch:

I took this opportunity to break out my new favorite fall pieces, recently delivered by Danielle. The sweater is the ideal weight for a cooler day in Autumn or any day in an LA winter (yes, it does get cold here). The high waisted feminine flow-y skirt is so comfortable and will look cute with crops and regular length tops. I love how these five pieces can be re-arranged with other basics in my wardrobe in order to create a zillion different ensambles. They are the perfect statement pieces for Fall.

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How cute is this chloe bag? No offense to the “Drew”, I am loving the uniqueness of this one. It can be dressed up for a night out or dressed down for something as casual as the pumpkin patch. AND…its the perfect size!
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I love this hat by Rag and Bone. I’ve never been into hats before but I can see this coming in handy on those days I don’t want to fuss with my hair. Plus its just a fun accessory.
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Hat: Rag and Bone Sunnies: Celine Sweater: Chloe Skirt: Maje Boots: Vince Bag: Chloe All available via Danielleseligson_Klein@s5a.com

I have to admit, BD (that’s Before Danielle) I would have never thought to wear this to a pumpkin patch. I think going in cute jeans and a fun T or even a halloween costume would also be acceptable. Definitely lower shoes or booties. But it was a great excuse to wear my new items. Thanks Saks!

Finishing the Pumpkin:

MSM and I learned a very important lesson today at the pumpkin patch. Jack-o-lantern pumpkins are NOT, I repeat, NOT baking pumpkins! hahaha. Though most pumpkin patches ALSO sell baking pumpkins, make sure you get the correct pumpkin for your needs 🙂

Doesn't this look DELICIOUS!
Doesn’t this look DELICIOUS!?

The word “foolproof” is in this recipe title. Click the link in case you want to try and bake your Jack-o-lantern: Foolproof Pumpkin Pie

In memory of Autumn:

I’d like to dedicate this post to Autumn Radtke. Ironically I met Autumn at a Summer BBQ in Beverly Hills held at the Sharon Tate Estate, home of the Manson Murders. Though the party itself was festive and bright, theres just something so eerie about the estate.

Autumn and I bonded over her adorable bull dog and our common zest for life. Though very slender, she was  Rubenesque and completely unaffected or possibly unaware of her beauty. She was a cosmopolitan xenophile advanced beyond her 24 years. Her courageous sense of ambition was contagious. It was one of those moments that I’ve mentioned before, where you never know how much one person can affect another – even in the most random and slightest way.

Over the years Autumn and I would sometimes touch base via Facebook, particularly around Halloween- she was an avid fan of costuming. I hadn’t heard from her for a long time so I decided to check in on her page and was horrified to find that she has passed away. Too young to be taken, may her soul revisit the earth via the winds of her namesake, inspiring all of us to live life to the fullest!

Happy Harvest everyone!

xoxo

QJ

QJ