When in Sonoma…

The Grit and Polish - Sonoma 48 Hours

Two weeks ago, Garrett and I went to Sonoma for a little R&R and birthday celebration (Garrett’s that is).  And it was awesome!  Sonoma is the sweetest little boozy town I’ve ever been to.  Winery tasting rooms around every corner, loads of historic houses, and absolutely gorgeous scenery.  It’s not cheap, but it’s everything quaint and charming.  Truly the perfect spot for a getaway, sans-kiddo.The Grit and Polish - Sonoma Wine Trip Collage 2I left my camera at home, so you’ll have to excuse the iPhone photos.  I think you can tell that we saw a lot during our 48 hours in Sonoma.  Here’s a quick rundown of our favorite spots…

Three Sticks Winery was the highlight of our visit.  Hands down!  The tasting room is in a renovated 1840’s adobe house (yeah you caught that right…I said 1840!!!) just a stones-throw from Sonoma Square.  And the space is amazing.  Like Ah-Mazing amazing! I mean I could have spent a whole day just peeking around, taking it all in.  I’m still thinking about those wood shutters and steel doors two weeks later.  And thank goodness that just like their tasting room, their wines are impeccably crafted, tasteful, and delicious.  We came home with a few bottles of their red blend, Castenada.  Can’t wait to open these and remember that glorious space in a year or two!  And p.s. Hayden is oh so helpful and had awesome recommendations for other great spots to hit up!

Wine Tasting at Boyd Family Vineyards is like visiting a country farmhouse.  Literally.  The owners, Joan and Stan Boyd, do tastings inside their new-but-old-looking farmhouse that they share with their two winery pups.  This is a place we’ll come to again and again if for no other reason than the cozy atmosphere, particularly now that we’re wine club members!  Good thing we love their wines – especially the Cuvee and Syrah – and they’re affordable!  This winery is actually in Napa but worth a trip even if you’re in the area to visit Sonoma!

Repris Winery was our first stop in Sonoma County and probably the most beautiful.  The tasting room is high up on Moon Mountain amid acres of vineyards.  The scenery really couldn’t be more beautiful, except wait…they have a look out even higher up on Moon Mountain, accessible only by ATV.  My friends, if you’re going to propose to your significant other, do it here.  Just do.  And if you like Sauvionagn Blanc and Pinot Noir than you’re in luck, because they are just plain delicious, not to mention the only bottles in their lineup under $80…ouch!  This place was glorious.  And p.s. they have caves!

HopMonk Tavern was the perfect place for a beer…you know if all that wine is getting to you.  We stopped in to catch the Gonzaga basketball game and fill up with a few bar snacks before hitting our next winery.  Good beer selection and great bar good!

Sonoma Square is a large park at the center of Sonoma.  It’s beyond quaint with old buildings lining the perimeter and a gorgeous City Hall at it’s center.  We spent a couple hours walking around, looking at the shops, and popping into a tasting room or two.

We ate Garrett’s birthday dinner at The Girl and the Fig.  It has a special ambience that I can’t quite put my finger on, but the dining room is comfortable and current and welcoming.  They do food like we like it: fresh, foodie and delicious.  Garrett had the flounder and I ordered the beet salad – it was a light meal but perfect since we had had a late lunch.  We split the sparkling flight which came in three mis-matched crystal glasses and the drinks were as good as the presentation.  If you find yourself in Sonoma, definitely stop at the Girl and the Fig.

My favorite meal was our breakfast at Sunflower Cafe.  Mostly because by Saturday I was coming down with a cold and they offered green smoothies, which made me feel a little better about drinking wine all day (turns out a green smoothie can’t counteract all that wine…I ended up with a full-blown cold when I got home).  And also because the omelets are awesome.  We got to Sunflower Cafe early, around 8am, and sipped coffee amongst the locals until it got busy with wine-enthusiasts at 9am.

Oh man…El Molino Central!  Get the pork tamales…you won’t be sorry.  Like most things in Sonoma, these little yums are spendy, but they are just so good!  The perfect lunch in-between wine tastings.

Phew!  That was a fun, whirlwind of a trip.  It was almost just as fun the second time, writing about it!  This was actually Garrett and my third time to the Napa/Sonoma area.  We’re no wine experts (not like these guys!), but we love tasting wine and being around such a fun craft industry.  We usually end up taking a couple cases of wine home – some cheap bottles (which in Sonoma is around $40 or less) and some more expensive bottles for celebrations, which I’d love to age in our cellar…if we had a cellar.  Hmmmmm, that might need to be on our must-have list when we buy our next house 😉

Sonoma was the perfect spot to spend a weekend celebrating my main (big) man and a great way to kick off a going-to-be-awesome December!  And for all you wondering, Wilder stayed home with his grandparents and he slept through the night twice (why doesn’t he usually do that for us?)!  Oh and yes, we brought home some great bottles of wine to share with friends and family over long dinners at the Ravenna House.  Life is good!

Top Photo: old adobe-wall of building near Sonoma square. Photo Collage (from left to right, top to bottom): El Molino Central, Three Sticks, Three Sticks Adobe floor, Three Sticks bathroom floor, Vineyard on Moon Mountain, Three Sticks shutters, Repris lookout, Repris caves, old building near Sonoma Square. 



p.s. A few other top destinations to visit.  Number three and five are definitely on my short list!

p.p.s. This post is about gallery wall art (which really lovely – they have awesome taste) but I’m obsessed with that wainscot!  OBSESSED!

p.p.p.s. And speaking of booze – kids and beer halls, a natural pairing in the Northwest 🙂


Going on Vacation

We’ve had a lot of ups and downs this year.  Lately it seems like more downs than up.  But that’s all about to change.  Because it’s December!  The month of holidays, parties, family, and one special gentleman’s birthday.  So those downs are about to be a thing of the past.  I have a lot of good in my life and a lot to look forward to, so I am declaring December going-to-be-awesome month!

And speaking of looking forward…

Garrett and I are going to Sonoma!  Today!  It’s a spur of the moment trip to celebrate Garrett’s birthday and part of my “going-be-be-awesome month” campaign.  It’s actually the first time I’ll spend a night away from Wilder in his 17 1/2 months of life. I’m 1 part anxious and 9 parts giddy about it.  Mostly I’m just excited to sleep in without our Wilder alarm clock ringing at 5am.  And to drink wine with the birthday boy, of course!

I won’t have a house post for you today, but if you’re feeling withdrawals, you can always look back at the archives (how about this demo post from last December because it’s sooooo fun to see how far the Ravenna House has come in a year) and/or follow along with our shenanigans on Instagram (let’s just hope Garret hides my phone if I have one glass of wine too many…!).  I’ll be back next week with some great content but until then, I’ll leave you with this picture from a recent family photo session with Kayla Casebeer, because it’s one of my favorites!


Okay, and one more with the birthday boy too.


Oh those two!  They are my whole heart.

Happy Friday everyone!  Wishing the most awesome December possible.



p.s. Any eating or winery suggestions for Napa and Sonoma? Please, please, please let me know!!!

p.p.s. What great gift ideas for the kiddos.  I’m dying to get Wilder that ukulele!  Don’t you think it would make for an extra special (and loud) holiday season!

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Building A Wedding Arbor


My sister-in-law is getting married later this summer and she requested a homemade arbor for the outdoor ceremony.  So Garrett and I packed up the baby and the tools and headed east to gramma’s farm for a Fourth of July wedding-work-weekend.

Dayne's Wedding Homemade Arbor

Garrett and I have never built a stand-alone arbor before and it was definitely one of those collaborative, design-as-the-go type projects.  Garrett would hold up one weathered 4×4 and Auntie Dayne and I would stand back and him-and-haw “three inches to the left”, “one-sixteenth-inch down”, “flip it around” before giving our stamp of approval.  Garrett managed to survive the weekend with his patience intact and we all had a blast.  It was a really fun process that got the whole family involved.

Building a Wedding Arbor 2Building a Wedding Arbor 1

We moved the arbor in the back garden for safe keeping and pulled the top members off to weather some more in the sun.  We trained some hop vines up the side of the arbor which will hopefully look beautiful come the end of August.  To temporarily shore the arbor up (it’s a little wobbly without all the top members), we put it in CMU footings and braced it with wood.

Dayne's Wedding Homemade Arbor

Isn’t the patina of the wood perfect?!  Gramma and Papa have a giant wood pile where they’ve been organically weathering wood for some 10-odd-years.  Okay, maybe it’s more like a pile of forgotten wood that gets beat on by the sun and warped by the rain, but it looks really beautiful and we didn’t have to buy a stitch of wood for the project.

I am so happy with how the arbor turned out, and more importantly, so are the bride and groom.  I’m a little sad the arbor isn’t coming home with us, but I already made Garrett promise that he’d build me one for the backyard of our next house!

I can’t leave you guys today without showing you a couple photos from around gramma’s farm.  I keep calling it a farm, but really it’s more like a hobby farm – they raise chickens, pigs, turkeys, a couple of horses, and a rotating door of grand-puppies.  The farm is located on a quiet 20 acres, miles away from any city.  On a cloudless night you can see every star in the sky and on a sunny day you can see clear across the valley.

Tractor on FarmGramma's Chicken Pen DoorFourth of JulyDelicious the PigAntique Tractor on Gramma's Farm

Isn’t it beautiful?!


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Hey Chicago!

Garrett and I took a break from the Ravenna House this weekend for a whirlwind three days in Chicago.  And it was a blast!

We were in town for a graduation but spent most of our time eating, drinking, and hoofing it around the city with the fam.  We did an architectural boat tour.  Ate pizza.  Hung out in the 70-degree weather at Millennium Park.  Ogled at the amazing architecture all over the city.  Checked out the University of Chicago’s historic campus.  Saw a glimpse of the Obama’s house in Hyde Park.  And sang happy birthday to our baby boy who is growing up way too fast (do you hear me, Wilder?!).

Chicago Collage 6-15-14.jpg

We traveled by bus, boat, train, car, Uber, foot, and golf cart (that one’s a long story) to see every last inch of Chicago that we could possibly see in one long weekend.  It was go, go, go and I loved every last second of it.  Sore feet and all.

And so did Wilder!

This little one-year-old of our’s has become quite the good traveler.   He happily took two solid naps (usually in the Ergo baby carrier) and ate three square meals (at restaurants, no less) every day while we got to play tourist.  I’ve heard that traveling with a baby can be a nightmare/limiting/difficult, but honestly, Wilder was really fun to have along!  And thank the heavens because this Mama has a case of wanderlust.  I’m ready to pack that kid up and head out on our next adventure.  New Orleans?  Savannah?  Boston?  Recommendations?


p.s. happy father’s day to all you dad’s out there!  You guys rock!

p.p.s. the masking is off and here’s a sneak peak of the Ravenna House’s basement paint job (more on that later this week):

Basement Pained - Masking Off

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