On Wednesdays We Drink Wine: Chateau St. Jean Tasting & Picnic

There is nothing better than drinking a glass of my favorite wine while snacking on yummy food during a picnic in beautiful weather. Luckily that is exactly how I spent my Monday. Although I’m a lover of all wines, I have a special place in my heart for Chateau St. Jean winery. I first got hooked on their delicious yet affordable  Chardonnay that you can pick up at any grocery store and in a lot of restaurants. You can safely assume that anytime that I see it on the menu I’ll be asking for at least 2 glasses during the timeframe of the meal.

About a year ago I went wine tasting at winery with my mom and boyfriend and made the best slightly tipsy decision of my life: join the wine club. Usually I do not like joining wine clubs as you sometimes get roped into buying wine that you may not life, but this was a no brainer. I have yet to try a wine from this place that I did not love instantly- red, white, even dessert. And the best part of being a wine club member? Free tastings of the classic wines and a huge discount on a tasting of the reserves (aka the good stuff). Needless to say, I capitalized on this perk during our trip to the winery Monday.

White: Being that I love their cheap Chardonnay, I go crazy for their Reserve Chardonnay. If you love smooth buttery Chardonnays as opposed to those that are more crisp, this is fantastic.

Red: I love their 8555 blend. Each year the wine maker takes the best of their reds and create a unique blend. This year available 8555 is 47% Merlot, 19% Petit Verdot, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Syrah, 10% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc. Yeah, I don’t really know what that all means either, but it is delicious.

After wine tasting Matt and I enjoyed  a nice picnic (I took my picnic basket on the trip just in case the opportunity presented itself) with salads from my favorite restaurant in town, bottle of cheap chardonnay and the finest plastic wine glasses you can ask for when you forget your own.

Here are a few more pictures of this beautiful winery. If you make a trip to wine country, make sure to stop by to have a picnic of your own!

If you’re interested in contributing to On Wednesdays We Drink Wine, send me an email!



Makes Me Smile

Happy Monday, everyone! As my mini vacation begins to wrap up, I plan on spending the day wine tasting (make sure to check in Wednesday)! I hope that you remember to find things that make you smile this Monday.

Smile #1: Forest Time. Living in Southern California is wonderful, but I basically live in the desert. Don’t get me wrong  – I LOVE the desert, but I miss the redwood forests of Northern California. Luckily, a friend and her husband were celebrating their 30th birthdays in the middle of the forest with beautiful redwoods. Couldn’t be happier.

Smile #2: Bon Iver Erotic Stories: I love Bon Iver, love him. In fact I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him twice in the last 3 months. And he blew my mind both times. This website expresses everything I was feeling while watching him perform (don’t tell Matthew). Here is an example of a Bon Iver-style erotic story:

“I am in the greenhouse pollinating tomato flowers with a paintbrush when I hear him return. He crushes me in his arms that smell of hotel soap. We make love right there beside the machinery shed, interrupted once by an incurious turkey passing by. Later he pushes me in the tire swing as the sun slips behind the western hills and shares stories from his tour.

His suitcase is still in the truck, forgotten along with the yearning of being apart.” Please find more beautiful / hilarious stories here.

Smile #3: Oakland A’s Come From behind Win over the San Francisco Giants. Picture this: bottom of the 9th, full count, 2 outs and the A’s are down 2-1. And then BOOM – 3 run homer. You can see said catcher running towards home plate surrounded by his teammates. Wonderful day to be an A’s fan.

Smile # 4: Matthew Wearing This Hat. I can’t. I just can’t.

Smile #5. Bike Ride to Date Night. Matthew and I live so close to our favorite sushi restaurant, it is a shame that we usually just drive there like lazy-folk. Okay, I have a (SUPER cute) beach cruiser that has zero gears and we live at the bottom of a small hill, so biking anywhere is quite the challenge, but still – I should be biking more.

What is making YOU smile this Monday?


Travel Tromp: Summer Travel Plans

This summer is truly the summer of travel. I’ve updated about my trips to Seattle and Vancouver, but I have a couple more trips planned for this summer. I’m seriously considering leaving my suitcase packed and ready by the front door at all times just in case I need to get to take off to someplace wonderful.

Sonoma, CA (x2): In totally I’m making 3 trips up to Sonoma (my hometown) this summer, one of which was last weekend. This week I’m heading up there for a friend’s birthday (and sneaking in a visit to the Oakland Coliseum to see my A’s hopefully beat the SF Giants). Then I’m back up there in August for a friend’s wedding. For those of you that haven’t made the trip to California’s true wine country, please do it! It is absolutely beautiful. The picture at the top of my blog is one that I took during a visit last fall. Good cheese, fantastic wine and breathtaking views. What more could you ask for?

Rouge River, OR: Matt’s uncle is celebrating his birthday in style by taking the family rafting on the Rogue River in Oregon. The last time I went rafting I was in high school, it only took a few hours, and I pretty much just sat there. I have a feeling this trip will be a little different. This trip is not a few hours long, but a few DAYS long. 3 days. 3 days of rafting excitement. It will be so nice to take a break from work and enjoy being outside in nature without even the option of checking my email.

Haines, AK: Finally, I’ll be spending 8 days in beautiful Alaska to visit my roommate and her family. Actually, about 7 of us grad students are making the trip up there. I plan on watching the boys attempt to take on some of the state fair contests (logging, fiddling, etc) while I watch from the beer tent, trying the local brews. We’re also planning on going for a few hikes, going out on a fishing boat and set crab pots. Yes, crab pots, something this California girl knows nothing about.

Do you have any travel plans this summer? If so, share! If not, where would you like to go if you had the chance?

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Makes Me Smile

Happy Monday everyone! I hope that you had a great weekend. Here are a few things that happened recently that are making me smile this Monday:

Smile #1: While I’ve been busying working on a a report for one of the evaluations I am helping to conduct, I still managed to find time to organize some of my favorite teas into some old jars I collected. From now on, I am keeping every jar that I come across so that I can organize all my teas, nuts and other snacks nicely.

Smile #2: Planting the first seeds of my garden! Last Friday I gave a quick update, but the following day we started planting! I’ll give a full update later this week.

Smile #3: Matthew officially filed a United States Patent and is now consider patent pending. We opened some beer and Bechrovka to celebrate.

Smile #4: LIFE ON MY AVOCADO TREE! This is probably the most exciting thing to ever happen. Apparently when the tree was first planted it would yield a ton of avocados each year but for the last 3 or 4 years, nothing. And now, LIFE! Mr. Avo Tree is a little late in the season, but I’ll take it! Cross your fingers that these little guys turn into real bundles of joy. It is my dream to eat an avocado off my own tree (I’ve been spoiled eating lemons and oranges from my backyard). Plus it would save me at least $5 a week.

Smile #5: Watching the Adventures of Pete and Pete under the stars at a friend’s house during a BBQ. Honestly, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Smile #6: Just booked my ticket to Alaska for July! Haines, AK (and more importantly, Southeast Alaska State Fair) get ready for 8 grad students to take over your city for a week.

Smile #7: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hX1YVzdnpEc&noredirect=1] Love these covers.

What is making YOU smile this Monday?

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Travel Tromp: Vancouver

Vancouver, Canada

This summer is quickly turning into the summer of travel. I think that my longest stay at home this summer is 2 weeks. While it can be a bit stressful living out of a suitcase, I’m so lucky that I have the opportunity to see new places, revisit some favorites and have new adventures.

Our trip to Vancouver was based off of two things: 1) convenience, and 2) I had never been to Canada and desperately wanted to go! So Matt and I took a 3.5 hour bus ride from downtown Seattle to Vancouver. Unfortunately, Matt got sick the first day we arrived, and I caught a cold on the last day so our sightseeing was pretty minimal. Even in the short amount of time I spent there, I completely fell in love with Vancouver!

Yum: The complete sushi nut that I am, I made it a priority to walk the 40 minutes from our hotel in downtown to Tojo’s. And I was not disappointed. While the food was a little bit on the pricy side (okay, a lot on the pricy side), the quality was incredible and service was great. While we dined we were able to observe a private party and press event for Yoshi Rolls for Japan. Yoshi rode his bike across Canada to raise awareness and money for the earthquake that hit Japan last year. It was kind of fun to watch the interviews and photos while stuffing my face with yummy sushi. Additional yums include brunch at the Twisted Fork, and dinner at the tapas restaurant The Refinery.
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Makes Me Smile

Here are six things that are making me smile this Monday:

Smile #1: We recently had a friend stay with us a few nights while she was in the process of moving. As a way of saying thanks, she left us this cute salt and pepper shaker set.

Smile #2: When I arrived at my mother’s house Thursday, I found these little gifts waiting on the nightstand (minus the glasses and keys). The Pike Place cook book is perfect since we just got back from Seattle.

Smile #3: Every time I head up to the Bay Area, I make it a point to visit my favorite sushi restaurant, Shogun. In all honesty, the only sushi that I’ve had that tops their quality was in Tokyo, at the Tsukiji Fish Market.

Smile #4: Seeing this dog makes me smile like no other. Roz is 15 and the most lovable dog there is.

Smile #5: This is my great grandmother. She’s 98 and wonderful, and puts the biggest smile on my face. Did I mention that she’s 98?!

Smile #6: This Monday, I’m smiling because I was able to witness my friend from high school marry the man of her dreams in the most beautiful ceremony I have ever seen. Congratulations!

What’s making you smile this Monday?


Travel Tromp: Seattle & Whidbey Island, Washington

I spent the last two weeks of May living out of a suitcase – and loved it. I started the vacation off with meeting Matt in Ohio to join him and his family in celebrating his little cousin’s graduation from college. Most of our time there was spent hanging out with family and we did little sightseeing of our own.

Whidbey Island

A few days later we (Matt and I, and his father, stepmother, and grandparents) packed up and flew to Washington state to visit Matt’s sister and nephews.

Adventure: Matt’s nephew’s kindergarten play! All of the kindergarteners put on a cute little performance called A Barnyard Moosical. Yes, Moosical. The kids were dressed as cows, chickens, pigs, and sheep. And it was just as cute as you could possibly imagine.


Seattle! Where have you been all my life?! What a fantastic city. From the interesting shops in Pike Public Market,  to the good eats, I completely fell in love with everything Seattle. Except the lack of diversity – not a whole lot of that going on, from what I could see.

Yum: Taylor Shellfish Farms. Although I recently made the switch to a more vegetarian lifestyle, I’ve found it difficult to stay away from seafood. And I have a particularly difficult time saying no to freshly shucked oysters. Clearly, I was tempted from the moment I spotted this restaurant tucked away on a little side street. So tempted that I dragged Matt there for a second (and larger) meal the following day.

Adventure: Urban hiking! Our hotel was in downtown (a few blocks away from the Pike Public Market), but we really wanted to get out and explore different parts of the city. While we spent most of our time walking up to and around Capitol Hill (where my lovely sorority sister Sheryl played tour guide for us), it was great to adventure out and explore side streets and parks without a set plan.

After our time in Seattle we headed out to the Gorge to watch the Sasquatch Music Festival.

Here are a couple of pictures from our time on the Island and in Seattle. Excuse the photo quality – I only had my iPhone with me all trip!


Sasquatch Music Festival

For the past couple of years, I’ve had the opportunity to drive a few of hours east to the desert for the Coachella music festival. Unfortunately, this year I was unable to get tickets. Instead, my boyfriend and I decided that we should go up to George, Washington and see the Sasquatch music festival.

We were hoping to get there midday Friday so that I could see my favorite, Santigold, but unfortunately we got there too late and were only able to see Pretty Lights. They put on a great show, but after traveling all day and setting up camp, I was too tired to sit through the whole set.


Emily Haines of Metric; Photo Credit: Brooklyn Vegan


The Shins; Photo Credit: Timothy Grisham


Makes Me Smile

Let’s be honest – Mondays can be rough. After a relaxing weekend, it can be hard to give up freedom and head back to work. At least it is for me, and I truly doubt that I am alone. Recently I have made it a habit to start each Monday by making a short list of things that make me smile. If you find it hard to jumpstart your week, try jotting down a few things that you smile this Monday. Here are a few things that are making me smile this Monday.

A silly polaroid picture of my boyfriend and I at Sasquatch music festival over memorial day weekend (full update will come tomorrow). When is the last time you saw a polaroid picture? There is something so fun and unique about instant photos! For those interested, camera is a Fujifilm INSTAX.

A giant praying mantis at the local botanical garden.

All dressed up at my friend Nikki’s bridal shower! I wish that I had my real camera instead of just my iphone.

Strawberries from the Oxnard strawberry festival. So yummy.

Remember to find ways to let Monday make you smile!


And it Started with a Notebook

Hi, and welcome to Treasure Tromp! I’ve been wanting to start a blog for some time now, but between being a full-time student and working, I never found the chance to sit down and get started.

And then I found a notebook.

While exploring a map shop in Seattle’s Pike Market, a tiny notebook captured my attention. It reminded me that I love to write, and document my experiences. As I started to fill the notebook I realized that I wanted to share my thoughts, triumphs, trials and treasures beyond the confines of my newly acquired notebook. So a couple of weeks later, in a small hotel room in Vancouver, B.C., Treasure Tromp was born. I look forward to sharing with, and learning from all of you!