Napa Valley

Napa Valley Fire Two

Napa Valley Fire OneNapa Valley Fire Three

Napa Valley Fire Four

Napa Valley Fire Five

Napa Valley Fire Six

Napa Valley Fire Seven

The top photos are from my first attempt to find cell service around 7am. The bottom two photos are taken in the same spot just one hour later. The air from these Napa Valley Fires was horrible from the start.

Where do I begin? The last two weeks have been a rollercoaster and one that has shaken me to my core. Just two weeks ago I had spent the day wine tasting with my friends. We were having so much fun and enjoyed getting to take in the beauty of Napa Valley. A gift that I don’t take for granted everyday on my way to work. It still blows my mind that a day filled with so much laughter and fun ended with heartbreak and started what would be considered one of the most devastating wildfires ever.

Even now, two weeks later, my emotions are still high. My heart is broken for those who lost everything. I can’t imagine the heartache of those who lost loved ones and I some how feel guilty that all I lost was a lot of food out of my fridge. It truly shows you what you can and can’t live without when you have to run through your home and figure out what to take and what to leave behind.

While my heart aches for this community I have seen first hand so many incredible things come out of this tragedy. I have seen hundreds if not thousands of people donate their time, effort and goods to families and first responders. I have seen groups of firefighters driving down highway 29 after a long nights shift with exhaustion in their eyes and ash on their faces but still willing to sleep a few hours and get up to do it again. I have seen signs displayed all over town, thanking every first responder. I have spent time with first responders and while they will try to convince you this was just their job, I know different. Whether they admit it or not, they saved families, animals, homes, memories and the lives of so many people.

Words can’t express my gratitude for every single firefighter, EMT, nurse, doctor, law enforcement officer, military member and volunteer who helped save lives. You are the people who make this country so great. You put your lives on the line to help make sure others will live. I am extremely proud to know so many of you and just so you know, I think you are the bravest people I’ve ever met.

The smoke may be clearing the air, but this is far from over for so many people. I am extremely grateful to everyone who has asked about me and checked in on me. You all are greatly appreciated and loved.

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Napa Valley Wine Train Tracks

Napa Hot Air Balloons on a golf course

Napa Hot Air Balloons in Yountville

Numbered Balloon

Yellow Balloon

Napa Hot Air Balloons in the sky

Balloons in the Rear View

Balloon in the sunrise

Napa Hot Air Balloons

I will openly admit that I have become one of those annoying early morning risers. Long gone are the days where I could sleep in till noon and not even care. Now days i’m happy if I sleep past 7. Although it has its downsides, it also has its serious benefits. The other day I slept in till 7 then got up and went on a little adventure. Every morning on the way to work I always want to stop and take pictures of the Napa hot air balloons. My mid driving snaps with me looking at the road and NOT at the camera, just aren’t cutting it. So I decided to actually get up and grab my nice DSLR camera and head out.

When I got there, one was just taking off and all the others were just getting inflated so it was perfect timing. I drove in circles for a good hour, just striving to capture the perfect shot. I took quite a few photos and these turned out to be my favorite. They were so beautiful and colorful. I couldn’t get over how incredible the sunrise looked behind these balloons. I know some people could care less, but when you’ve always wanted to see a hot air balloon up close and now live in a place like Napa, it will take a while to get tired of this sight. If I ever do, that is!

I was laughing to myself because the hot air balloon operators kept eye balling me and I moved into position. They probably thought I was crazy because I definitely looked like I was. But really, I just wanted the perfect angle. I highly recommend that if you are planning a trip to Napa Valley you wake up early and head to Yountville to see this!

They generally take off from the golf course off Highway 29 and the Marketplace parking lot in the town. Interested in booking a trip? Napa Valley Aloft, Napa Valley Balloons and Balloons Above the Valley, all offer rides!

Hope you all enjoy these images as much as I do!

Have a great day! God bless!

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Sunshine on Vineyards

1 Month Down in Napa

So today I realized that I have officially been at my new job for a whole month! Where did the time go? I thought it would be fun to reflect on my first couple weeks living in Napa. I have already been to so many incredible places and can’t wait to share those pictures in separate posts.

Reflections:

– I have come to realize that I am majorly obsessed with hot air balloons. Will I ever get in one? Probably not. I put that in the same category as skydiving. No thanks! However, what a beautiful sight they are! Every morning as i’m driving down Highway 29, I come around a turn in the road and BOOM, there are hot air balloons. They are always just about taking off or have just taken off by the time I get there and I literally squeal with joy. It’s the little things right?

– I have learned to eat alone. I always had this thing about eating alone. I never did it. I spent the last couple of years in a city where I was totally embarrassed to eat alone. Don’t ask me why, but I was. Now, I have learned to embrace it. Napa Valley is a place of many travelers and I love to hear different accents and different conversations from people seated around me. Yes, i’m that person overhearing some conversations and let me tell you, some stuff you probably shouldn’t talk about in public. (insert monkey emoji with hands covering its eyes, lol).

– What a difference a good boss can make. Let me just drop some knowledge on any of you that are considered leaders in the work place. Encourage your team, don’t break them down. You should constantly be trying to train your replacement. That’s what a good boss does. Not okay with that? Then maybe management isn’t for you. I have to brag on my new boss right now, he has been totally awesome and so encouraging while I have attempted to navigate this new position. While i’m pretty confident with my skill set, any new position has it’s challenges and knowing that I have a boss that supports me is so uplifting for a change. You don’t know what you were missing until you have it again!

– God is good. Everyday I drive 25-30 minutes into the heart of California wine country. I pass through towns, drive by vineyards and can see the hard work that goes into a single bottle of wine. That appreciation carries over to my work ethic and my constant drive to better my craft. While i’m not saving lives and will never act like I am, I do take my job very seriously. I am proud that I get to be a storyteller everyday when I get to my desk. Whether it’s talking about a winery, family history or education about the wine itself, it is my passion.

So happy to have been able to share a little insight from my last couple of weeks. It has been a blast and can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Hope you all have a great Saturday! God bless!

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