Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Winery Wednesday + Travel Tuesday

Happy Tuesday, all!

Adam and I took a quick trip up to Napa Valley this past weekend. The weather cooperated with us and it was absolutely gorgeous! 

We tried a couple new wineries and revisited others that we're already members of. When we do Napa, we usually have 2 restaurant reservations for lunch and dinner, then 1-3 appointments at wineries. If you're trying to make the most out of Napa, I suppose you can squeeze 10 or so wineries per day but we like to relax and enjoy each winery thoroughly - which is why we only do about 3 a day. 

Our itinerary this trip: 

Saturday:
Ram's Gate Winery - Our first time and definitely not last; we're members now! Gorgeous property in southern Napa, closer to Sonoma. Had the best food pairing tasting with a Sommelier! 
Rutherford Grill - Our staple lunch spot. We order TWO orders of their Grilled Artichoke and share an entree. 
Robert Biale Vineyards - Adam's happy place and long time member. Quaint, very small winery with killer Zins. 
Hall Winery - Urban chic winery that we're also a member of. Amazing Cabs and very interesting art pieces all throughout their property. 
Long Meadow Farmstead Restaurant - My new favorite place for dinner. Killer pork chop, charcuterie board and beignets with bourbon caramel sauce! 

Sunday:
Brix Restaurant - I've been here for Sunday Brunch every single time I've visited Napa (sooo 10+!)
CADE Winery - Their 100% Cab was to die for and so was their property. Gorgeous hilltop property!
Oakville Groceries - Cutest little deli stop in Napa, hands down. Delicious sandwiches and yummy treats! 

Ram's Gate and CADE were our new spots this time around and absolutely loved them. This was pretty close to a perfect Napa trip for us! If any of you are planning on going to Napa, the above places I highly recommend. 
  
Until next time, cheers! 

At our favorite Robert Biale Vineyards feat. baby grapes!

The breathtaking property of CADE Winery up in Howell Mountain.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Pinterexperiment: Crockpot Bacon Mac n Cheese

Happy Monday, y'all!

It's been rough being back in the states; the crazy jet lag and missing home has driven me to cook comfort food. What better comfort food is there than bacon mac & cheese, am I right? This recipe was inspired by The Food Network recipe. I added bacon and tweaked it a little bit.

I made a mistake by wanting different kinds of cheese and combined the sharp cheddar with mozzarella. It didn't turn out quite the way it probably should have so I highly suggest unless you know your cheeses very well, that you stick to the recipe. You can probably notice this in the photo.

Either way though, it was delicious! More prep and cooking time than just making your typical box o' mac n cheese but it was still fun.

Definitely recommend. Bon appetite! xoxo


 Slow-Cook Bacon Mac n Cheese  

Serves 6-8 
Cooking time: 3 hours 

What You'll Need:
 8 ounces cooked elbow macaroni (I used whole grain)
 12 ounces (1 can) of evaporated milk
♥ 1 1/2 cups of whole milk
♥ 1/4 cup of melted butter
 Salt & Pepper to taste  
♥ 2 large eggs, beaten
♥ 5 cups of grated sharp Cheddar cheese 
♥ 1 pack of bacon (optional)

Instructions: 
 Cook your bacon separately in the oven. I suggest: 400 degrees, line a cookie sheet with foil and place bacon flat, cook for 15-25 minutes depending on how crispy you want it.  
 Spray your slow cooker with oil.
♥ Chop the bacon into pieces (whatever size you'd like!)
 Mix cooked macaroni, evaporated milk, whole milk, butter, salt, pepper, bacon, eggs and 4 1/2 cups of the grated cheddar cheese. 
 Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese over the top. 
 Cover and cook on low for 3 hours. 
 Keep checking - time varies depending on your crockpot size! Mine is 6 quarts.  

Pre-cooking!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Wanderlust Wednesdays: Tokyo Part II

My two week vacation back home in Tokyo has finally and unfortunately come to an end. I had a Tokyo Part I where I covered all the activities Adam and I did together while he was here and now, this is part II, post Adam going back to the states. 

I had the most amazing time living out my youth; hanging out with my best friends, getting my nails done (I mean, where else than Japan?), shopping and cooking with my Mom, watching Japanese TV and cry-laughing with my family. I was being such a baby at home, I was so spoiled. 

Now that I'm back, I'm suffering through the worst jet-lag. When the west coast falls asleep, it's morning in Japan - complete opposite. Thankfully I have no work I have to get back to so that helps. 

Sigh. Feeling really homesick already :( 

Special thanks to my family and friends that made my two weeks so special. You guys are everything!


Monday, May 4, 2015

Blabber: I'm writing!

Aloha!

I have some exciting news; some of you may already know but I'm now a Career & Lifestyle contributor for a new site, Women's Prospects.

Source: Women's Prospects

"WomensProspects.com is the leading entrepreneur and business organization for women around the world. Launched in January 2015, Women’s Prospects gives important advice on all areas of entrepreneurship, business and finance to help millions of women achieve their goals. Our goal is to empower women to take charge of their lives and turn their business ideas into reality."  (Source: Women's Prospects)

I focus on the Career column and dabble in Lifestyle - especially anything related to travel, of course!

Check out my first article: Business Travel Tips & Tricks 101

I've been working on some exciting Career related entries so make sure you check back often! Make sure you give us a 'like' on Facebook as well. I'm so excited to be a part of a group of inspirational women, especially Anna, the founder of Women's Prospects!

Source: Women's Prospects

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Travel Tuesday: Tokyo Part I

My vacation in Tokyo is half over already! Adam left last night, which means I have one more week left to enjoy everything my hometown has to offer. This past week was so packed that I slept in until 10AM this morning (that's incredibly late for me)!!!!

To make the photos somewhat understandable, Adam and I did the following this past 7 days:

- Ate A LOT of DELICIOUS food (Applies to all 7 days)!
- Visited with my BFF since 1990, her husband and her new baby girl!
- Had the best time at the Ninja restaurant.
- Private dining with my parents at Ukaitei (tofu central) in their gorgeous garden.
- Visited Asakusa Temple.
- Staycation in Nikko, Japan (World Heritage site) at a Japanese style hotel with our own hot-spring!
- Played at the Edo Wonderland (Japanese version of a Renaissance Fair) with Ninjas and Samurais.
- Basked in the amazingness that is the Toshogu Shrine (National Treasure).
- Went up the Tokyo Skytree (634m/1476 feet tall).
- Saw a Kabuki play.
- Ate a ton of mouth-watering seafood at the Tsukiji Fish Market.
- Went to the Family Festival at the school I attended K through 12 and ate foods from all around the world! Oh and with the company of one of my closest friends from high school Eri and her boyfriend Mike.
- Had the Yogurt & Fruit Frappuccino and Mango Tea Frappuccino at Starbucks (#onlyinJapan).

I also Snapchat all through my trip so add me! @dimamura

Part II coming next week! xo





Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Travel Tuesday: March Wrap-Up

I can't believe that March has finally come to an end. This month was full of traveling, which of course has made my heart so happy! After recovering from my sickness around the end of February, March was off to a busy start.

Indian Wells - BNP Paribas Open

First of all, Adan and I drove out to Indian Wells for the BNP Paribas Open for a hot and sweltering front row seat experience. Adam won the tickets at a silent auction and I'm so glad he did! It was such a blast and how exciting it was to watch professional tennis. Tennis is my first and forever love (played competitively back in Japan, college and taught!). Since we had front row seats at the main stadium, we were lucky enough to be able to rest in the box seat club which had plenty of air conditioning, food and drinks. I got a pretty nasty tan but I'm actually pretty proud of it.


Portland, Oregon

That same week, Adam and I were off to Portland Oregon to visit my best friend Maya and her husband Will (Adam's cousin). We had so much fun seeing them and visiting with them. I wish my best friend lived a lot closer. Sad face. I was able to see my other best friend there as well, eat some amazing food, enjoy the fresh air and some rain. We were only there for the weekend but I'm so glad we went! I lived in Portland for a total of four years so I definitely miss that place.

San Francisco

Last but not least, last week I was off to San Francisco. I go to Napa all the time but I very rarely stay in the city so I was really excited to take my former assistant and now friend, Brooke with me. It was her first time traveling so I was really happy to be the one expanding her horizons and sharing my passion of travel. We did some major touristy things and had a complete blast. Our hotel is conveniently located at the Fisherman's Wharf so we got really lucky. The trolley rides, the clam chowder, the gorgeous weather, Golden Gate Bridge, Ghirardelli Square, Pier 39, Don Pisto's - the list goes on. 

As for April, it brings just one major travel over to Tokyo Japan. I'll be gone for two whole weeks and taking Adam for one of them. I am so excited to go back home and to see my family and my best friend (and her new baby!). Well, I'm excited for the cherry blossoms, food, shopping too...

My grad school classes started this week so I gueeeess I'll have to buckle down for the next three weeks :)

I hope allergies aren't too bad for everyone - it's killing me!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Power of Meditation

My funemployment hasn't turned out exactly the way I had imagined or hoped. Immediately after I resigned from corporate America, I left for my trip up to Seattle to visit my Grandfather and friends. Sometime during the trip, I caught a horrible case of pharyngitis and I was bedridden for 2.5 weeks. 2.5 weeks! I didn't shower for almost the entire time, I had a hard time walking up and down the stairs, I was freezing but still sweating, my nose was running 24/7, I couldn't even swallow water because it hurt my throat so intensely, I couldn't taste anything, I woke up several times each night thanks to coughing attacks - I mean the list goes on and on. I finally stopped taking a mixture of over-the-counter medicine and went to see a doctor. He gave me some strong antibiotics and finally got better. 

As soon as I was semi-over the infection, I went to Indian Wells for the BNP Paribas Open, then straight to Portland and now getting ready for San Francisco. Oh - and school starts next week. So do I truly feel like I got a vacation prior to school starting? Not really. [Sigh] 

Anyway, on top of graduate school, travel, health & fitness improvements, I've also been wanting to be more centered. I've been so scattered, especially this past year and feel I've spread myself too thin. I'm everywhere at the same time and my mind runs 100mph without ever stopping. I'm horrible with my phone too; I might as well glue it to my hand. I definitely have #FOMO (fear of missing out) and I have this constant need to stay connected. 

So, in attempts to becoming more centered and independent from the interweb, I searched for something that can assist me in this venture. Ironically I found out about this app from my favorite YouTuber but anyway, she suggested Simply Being.  

The past few days, I've turned my phone to Airplane Mode for 1 hour in the morning. I spend the first 5 minutes of the hour with this app by meditating. I've always thought of meditation as a hippie activity (my college had meditation classes for credit...wtf) but it has already made a huge difference. My mind becomes calm and I feel more connected to my body. After 5 minutes, I feel refreshed and ready to start my day. The next 55 minutes, I spend making coffee, eating breakfast and mentally preparing for the day - all without my phone. 

Trust me, it makes a huge difference. It's the best $1.99 you'll spend for an app. Try it!

via Pinterest
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