Sister Time & Wine Country Part I!

Hey hey, long time no seeee!! Oh man, you know what’s tough? Sometimes the times in life when you need to write and process the most are the times that are the most chaotic and don’t allow much free time to do just that! (Don’t count how many times I used “time” in that sentence, or this one). But I’ve gotta say, at this moment, I’m actually enjoying the chaos. It’s incredibly stressful for sure, tears have been shed, and there are times I don’t feel like I can handle it all- but things are going much smoother than I could have ever imagined, and I feel like we are almost in the clear! We also have a lot of the really huge stressors behind us, so now much of that anxiety is getting replaced with excitement and anticipation! Also, although each day is go-go-go from super early morning till nearly midnight, the adrenaline from everything is working wonders. We officially move out on Sunday.

Currently….My brain is fried, I cannot do another lick of studying, so I am treating myself to just this one night to do a blog post!

We left off the evening my sister arrived. On June 5th, my Sis and I woke up early to get to work! Halston had tons of “to-dos” on her list for the wedding & of course, I had a bottomless pit of reading and studying and assignments. We started the day with avocado smoothies– Hal talked about them for weeks leading up to the trip since she got hooked on them last time she was here. We had one every day of her visit this time around- and now I can’t have one without missing her!

I took a midday break to post some items on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. I’m never using Craigslist again with the success we’ve had through Marketplace. I’m so stoked about it- it’s just so easy.

In the evening we whipped up some stuffed sweet potatoes again. We made ours each a bit differently, mine with extra tzatziki and beets and Hal’s with extra green goddess dressing from TJs. These also included tofu, roasted peppers and onions, artichoke hearts and hummus all stuffed in Murasaki potatoes. We chatted out on the balcony & enjoyed the momentary quiet from the studying/wedding details.


On June 6th we went to Peets during the day to get shtuff done, and then came back in the late afternoon and worked out on the main apartment community deck. Smalls was soaking up the sun… I would have hated to disturb I figured I should just let him be 😉


We made massive salads in the evening with all ingredients in the fridge- mmm mmmm! Halston is all aboard the massive salad train too.


Side note: DJ had a home-stand during the week she was here (where he leaves basically at 730 am-ish and doesn’t get home till 11ish); that’s why he isn’t around in any adventures, sadly. We missed him!

Anyway, we took an after-dinner walk around Main Street before I hit the books again.


Aaand it was the same ol’ on June 7th. We were very productive through the week, but basically it was just study/eat/workout/study/eat.

To shake things up for dinner, we decided to try TJ’s Cauliflower Gnocchi! We didn’t add much seasoning to it because I wanted to get a feel for the base to see what I could jazz it up with next time.


They were super yummy. I think next time I’d like to add some type of nice parmesan on top! A red sauce would work well too. We ate them with tilapia and roasted veggies from Chef Hal herself. Halston and I eat essentially the same type of diet, so it was fun to tag- team dinners throughout the week.


I started packing that evening after getting to a stopping point I had planned for the week. We made sure to try to get a good night sleep because we woke up around 4:45 am on Saturday June 8th to get a workout in. And finally- after a long week of studying and wading through wedding logistics we were ready for a day of fun & relaxation! We scarfed down our coffee and avocado smoothies and headed out to celebrate my sister’s birthday in….. NAPA!

We headed from Cupertino to the Ferry Building in SF where our wine tour car would be picking us up. I booked us through Platypus Wine Tours again since it was such a phenomenal experience the first time around with Kelsey (and it’s very reasonably priced).


The tour bus was scheduled to pick us up in front of the Ferry Building at 8:45 am, and we had about twenty minutes to spare after grabbing our Ferry tickets for the trip back…so naturally we had to grab some pics!


When it was time to load up the car, we found ourselves surrounded by about 8 other people from all over the world- Denmark, France, Canada… It was fun to get to know them all throughout the trip. That’s something I so love about San Francisco- you meet people from truly everywhere and anywhere with the most fascinating lives and stories.

First stop first: Auburn James.


This was a unlike any other winery experience we’ve had before. The whole tasting room vibe was supposed to make you feel like you were entering a home, and it really did feel like we were all just hanging out in a living room.


We were given our tasting and then showed around the vineyards.


The vineyards were beautiful! But it was HOT HOT HOT. Our Platypus tour guide did say they were a little bit worried about wildfires that day. I think we could have all done without that little tidbit of knowledge.. eep!

6486d0ac-f7b3-4bfa-b416-ea35be5d910f1d6c75ed-5548-4dd3-8a3f-97408f06db4a I wouldn’t say this winery is a must, but it was a lovely experience nonetheless. I think it was the most educational out of the four!

Second Stop: Hagafen. This was our favorite of the day for several reasons…

79958315-8b64-44fd-9d00-870a9b6b64827984b17b-a7ce-4be2-99f3-857097e1db7d-1b56c61ef-0057-4ac6-9cf7-781e152c02de-1The grounds were stunning! It was tucked in a valley surrounded by mountains all around. The little touches at every turn were a mixture of quaint, vibrant, and quirky! Also, the wine connoisseurs were extremely knowledgable and the wines were uniquely flavorful. We decided to start splitting tastings starting at this winery, so we did half sweeter wines (for my sis) and half drier (for myself).


Oh, and another bonus, they had games! We attempted a round of cornhole, but the wind kept catching our bags, so we didn’t do too hot.. meaning it was probably comical for any bystanders watching, haha.


Before we knew it, it was lunch time! yaa buddy. They had vegetarian dishes for Hal & I. Platypus called before hand to make sure they accommodated any dietary restrictions. So kind! We enjoyed every nibble of our veggie sandwiches accompanied by hummus, pears, and a lentil salad that was to die for.


And dessert were these sweet little strawberries and cream muffin bites.


I’ll recap the second part of wine country in a separate post! Happy birthday again, Sista!


Questions for you:

  • What do you call cornhole? I know it has a variety of names depending where you’re from.
  • What time of day do you prefer to workout?

xo <3

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61 thoughts on “Sister Time & Wine Country Part I!

  1. I call it cornhole! It’s so weird that people call it other things. I think cornhole is the Midwest name for the game. It’s funny you said that a winery had it. Alex and I went to a nice restaurant near us and they had it outside. We played a game after dinner and I kicked his butt haha.

    That’s so nice your sister was up for just crossing things off of both your to do lists during the week. It must have been nice to have someone to talk to for a quick little break as well. Taking Smalls to the roof was a great idea.

    You’re killing me with these Napa posts haha. We still haven’t figured out a fall trip but I’m still on the Napa train for it.

    Good luck with your move!! It’s stressful but we’re in it together (in different states but moving the same weekend) girly!

    1. I think Cornhole must be a Midwest thing! And Way to go, gf! 👏🏻

      Yess exactly! So nice to have her around even as just a meal companion! 💕

      I have heard great things about the Napa Train!!!! Ah I am so excited for your trip 😍

      Awww I love that!! Yes, and hope your move went soo well! I can’t wait to hear all about it 🤗

    1. Thanks Kathy! I am with ya! I always have to eat some thing before, but overall I’m about the morning workouts too 🙂

  2. looks like a fun tour for you and your sister. that tasting place that looks like a living room is way too funny. I’m sure people love the home feel, but it seems strange to me.

    I’m glad you are feeling like the craziness of the move is on the upswing. soon you will be in your new hometown

    1. I 1000% agree! I kinda feel like going to a winery is an event and I’d prefer it to feel like that?! You usually can have wine in a living room with friends anytime- I want the unique experience!

      Thank you!!! A few more days and we will be there 🤗

  3. Never considered cornhole being called anything else, interesting! There are actually cornhole competitions on TV late at night– who knew?! Funny enough, those got INTENSE, and they were actually entertaining to watch!

    I love that romper and it looks so stylish on you! I look forward to reading more about the winery, I’ve never been to one, but it’s something I’ve always wanted make a trip of! I’m glad you and your sis could share some more sweet memories during her visit, it looked like such a fun time! Hope your day is great, and enjoy the chaos as well 🙂

    1. That’s too funny! Actually, they had cornhole competitions in my hometown too 🤣 people are serious about their cornhole!

      Aw thank you so much, Stephanie!! So sweet of you to say ❤️ I was so thankful for this time I had with her. Hope you have the best Tuesday 🤗

  4. Aww, looks like you and your sister had a lot of fun! How sweet!! 💓Woah, the winery does give that homey environment! Also, the cauliflower gnocchi look sooo yummy!!

    By the way, I love your romper, Mackenzie!! It’s such a pretty summer outfit and you look gorgeous!! x

    1. Hi, Nunzia!! Thank you so much for reading 🤗

      I am hoping to play around with the gnocchi a bit more to make it even better!

      Thank you SO much for your sweet words ❤️💕 you are too kind! Have a great week 🙂

  5. Mmm, that massive salad has so many things inside I love, I’m drooling! You look so stunning in that red romper! What a nice break from all the books! I have no idea what a cornhole is and i usually prefer working out in the morning although sometimes you just slot it in whenever you can!

    1. Hi, Cordelia! Thank you so much! 🤗

      So corn hole is a game where you try to get a bean bag on a wood plank with a hole in it. Describing it, it doesn’t sound that fun haha.

      Yes, totally agree!!

      1. HAHAHA, AHH I GET IT. Hey! The simplest games are the best, when you get that competitive spirit going HAHA!

  6. What a fun time and I remember reading a post when I first started following you of you and Kelsey and it looked very scenic and fun. I’m glad you enjoyed the day with Halston and you two were photogenic on your own or together … cheers to Halston’s birthday and now I’ll await part 2 of this adventure!

    1. Aw you have the best memory! It really impresses me!

      Aw thank you, Linda! Hope your week is off to a nice start 🤗

      1. You’re so welcome – so far, so good, except the handyman discovered a wasp’s nest over my side door – he sealed it up, so hope the relatives don’t come after me!

      2. I’m a little behind here Mackenzie and hope to read Part II later today if we don’t get the gusty storms they are predicting (every afternoon this week – grrr). Safe travels to you and DJ when you start your trek to Texas (yee haw – I could not resist).

      3. Thank you so so much, Linda! We made it here safe and sound. Just about as stressed as ever… but we’re here!!! 🙂 happy fourth !

      4. Glad to hear it Mackenzie and you no doubt heard about the big earthquake (worst since 1994) in California. I knew you were not in So Cal so not affected at any rate and knew you were on your way to your new place in Texas (yee haw).

      5. Yes 🙁 So sad! We actually drove through Southern California on our trip out, so I’m really grateful we missed it – and thankfully it doesn’t sound like there were any deaths. I pray that’s still true!

        But yee haw is right- we are loving it here so far!!

      6. Yes, very sad and scary but I’ve not heard of any deaths either so that’s a good thing. You and DJ need to get cowboy boots and hats to get a flair for living in Texas.

  7. Im so glad you had a nice time with your sister! And I love the pics of you girls,.you’re both seriously so gorgeous!
    I still havent gone on a wine tour 🙄 one day… day lol I’ll have to ask my sis in law if she would like to do something like that with me lol

    1. You are the sweeetest – thank you so much! And yessss, or I mean… I’ll go with you if she doesn’t 😆

  8. How fun!! Happy birthday to your sister!
    I have always called it cornhole. We play often around here and I am way too competitive even though I’m not very good at it haha!

    1. Aw thanks, Carly!!! I will pass on the sweet bday wishes 🙂

      Haha I love that you are a serious competitor! In the town I’m from they have cornhole competitions- you would fare well! Thanks for stopping in, gf 🙂

  9. That’s great you had success in selling stuff on the Marketplace & the stuffed sweet potatoes look delicious!
    I have never seen cauliflower gnocchi before but it looks so yummy!
    Even though I don’t like wine, the winery tour looks fun & it looks like you had a good time with your sister for her birthday!
    Also in Denmark I think they call cornhole “bean bag spil (game)”

    1. I just picked up more cauli gnocchi to make tonight 😍

      It was so much fun with her! I can’t wait to see her again in a week 🤗

      Ohhh I have heard that version- minus the “spil”! So interesting though!!

      1. There’s a recipe for cauliflower gnocchi on Tasty & it doesn’t look that hard to make!
        Spil is Danish for game 😊

      2. Ohhh ! I love learning these new tidbits from you! I may have to hunt down that Tasty recipe for some inspo on how to season it too! I bet it’s cheaper to make at home than buy as well. Thanks for sharing that with me!

  10. I definitely prefer to workout at night after work. 😉 I’m just the type of person that likes to get started right away on work and then when I’m done, I don’t feel any sort of pressure to just get my workout done and I like that more, lol.
    So I take it you guys are all moved out now?! I can’t believe how fast your move came too!! Joshua & I still feel like we’ve hardly had a chance to breathe since we moved…the first week was a whirlwind and then off to MD for his sister’s wedding…then last week was another whirlwind with our movers and then his grandfather passed away on Sunday so this week it’s a bunch of long work hours, and then leaving again on the 4th for the funeral in MD. By the time this is all done, we’ll already have been here for about a month and barely unpacked lol!
    Anywayyy I love that your sister was able to come stay for awhile and tag team getting everything done!! How fun that you both have the same kind of diet, that makes cooking so much easier! What a fun trip to Napa. Crazy that there was a wildfire watch though!!
    Good luck on your move & the wedding, Mackenzie!! Are you driving to Texas now, or is the wedding first?

    1. I totally hear that! I have definitely had some of my best runs after work- even after a 12 shift , I think it feels like a therapy session after a stressful day!!!

      Oh my gooodness we are living basically the same life.. it feels the same way for us, and my sisters wedding is next weekend too! But I’m so sorry to hear about his grandfather 😪 my thoughts and prayers are with you guys- that’s a lot of emotions at once to handle too.

      It was so nice to have that last hurrah with her for sure. And we arrived a couple nights ago- wedding is next Saturday! Movers come the 9th, I take my test the 10th and we fly out the 10th a few hours later!! Hope you guys are hanging in there since the funeral was yesterday ❤️

      1. Wow, so much going on at once for you guys!! Just a little longer and life should start slowing down a little for you, right?!

        Thank you so much, that means a lot. It was so tough for his family, but the funeral was so meaningful, it really was handled beautifully. <3 Thank you for the prayers!

      2. Totally!!! I have a week respite at the end of August I’m really looking forward to.

        So glad it all went as well as it could ❤️

  11. I love this post and all of the pictures that you took. Looks like such a great time! My cousin calls cornhole “bags” and now I find myself saying “bags” more often, LOL. But I used to call it cornhole until I kept hearing him say “bags”.

    1. Aw thank you so much, Ashley!!! Bags is the common alternative I hear too! That’s so funny it wore off on you–Bags is definitely easier to say than cornhole, lol!

  12. Ah, Sisters!
    So glad she is with you in this challenging time – love the glamourous shots of you both!
    Sending you lots of hugs & positive energy … thank you for keeping us posted and sharing with us your journey.

  13. Awww I really feel for you Mackenzie . You are juggling a lot of things right now that a lot of people would not be able to handle, but with God’s help you will get through it ! You deserve a break from studying ! I bet Hal liked the daily avacado smoothies! Nice to get out to Peets again before you leave , and a bonus is having your Sis along! Wow DJ has a LONG day at work. Downtown Cupertino looks so cute! Yay , fun time with Halston and a trip to Napa ! Great photos with that little bridge in the background ! It is good you met a lot of International visitors going to Napa, always nice to meet new people. The tasting room does look like a living room. It does look soo hot there! The Hagafen grounds do look so nice. I would have to go in a cooler time of year . I am glad they had the vegeterian options for you Girls. The muffin/strawberry bites do look delicous! Oh my that close up of you two is just amazing! You can see the beauty in you and your Sister ( big hand to your parents!) and also the happiness of hanging out together. Love your earrings also and the red is so nice on you! We call the game beanbags, but it is a regional name . I know you will have a busy weekend and week ahead , Please send my regards to Halston and her Fiancee ( I want to say Kevin!) Take care, Terri xo.

    1. Aw thank you so much for understanding, Terri! <3

      DJ definitely worked long hours with baseball- but those days are over now and I am soo excited we will have more time together!! At least for now!

      Aw glad you liked the Napa trip pics :)You are too sweet- It was a great girls' day!

      Ohh bean bags!! I don't know that I've heard that one- maybe I have- but makes sense!!

      I will definitely send your kind wishes along to Halston and Kevin (awesome memory!!). Thanks again for reading, Terri 🙂 XO

      1. You’ve always had an amazing memory!!! Thank you so much for the sweet wishes 💕 have a great rest of the week, my friend!

  14. Aww you two look so beautiful on your wine date. 🙂 The first place was so cute how it looked exactly like someone’s home & the second spot with food & games sounds awesome, too!! I’ve never played it but I didn’t know there were other names for cornhole!! & if I workout, I like to do it after a shower but before eating or doing anything else. 😄

    1. Aw thanks so much, Hunida ☺️ haha you’re like my sister!! I have to eat something before working out and she’s the opposite ! Although often when I travel I don’t eat first and I find I have some of my best workouts, so maybe I should adopt that strategy.. but breakfast is usually my motivation to get out of bed 😅

      1. My stomach never feels right if I eat first but I’m not usually hungry right away in the morning either. 😛

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