Outfit of the Day: Sept 20, 2019

Didn’t think that you’d hear from me again this quick – didja!!

So I found a good way to take self-timershots without a proper tripod and without having my phone dropping onto concrete.

My camera is seriously inside of a shoe, and that shoe is laying on the stroller. Lol. Hey, whatever works. Bebs was down for his nap and I had the stroller out, so I decided to see how it worked for me. And worked it did.

Although this is an incredibly basic outfit, it’s what I’ve been reaching for, and pretty much my daily “uniform”. Fall is coming up and I’m looking forward to start layering more.

Are you guys interested in all the OOTDs, or more of the layering ones. Cause I mean jeans and a tee guys, you can’t get any simpler than that.

Anyway, this is what I wore literally today. Thought I’d share. I’m using my Google pixel to take these shots and often I have “motion” turned on, which means it takes a variety of shots all within probably a half second, so I can save any of the shots in the motion – you know in case I blink, or if I’m squinting hard into the sun. I can omit those. However with those, if it’s not the original, and if it’s part of the motion, it’s like taking a still from a video, the quality isn’t great. But, I mean, it’s only an OOTD not like I’m taking super fantastic product shots here or anything. So I’ll let it go.

Outfit details
Crewneck tee: Target (in stores now!)
Jeans: Articles of Society  (they’re always on sale with the Nordstrom Anniversary sales)
Belt: Decades old from American Eagle
Shoes: Johnston & Murphy (seen here, and here)
Bag: My goodie bag from Neiman Marcus that I got here.

Weird blooper that I sometimes may not include. My keys bulging out of my arse pocket, and me thinkin’ a good ol’ hair flick would look cool. It did not. ha!!!

Up-close shot because this one was too cute not to share. He honestly just squat down behind my shoes, wouldn’t move, and kept saying “CHEESE!”. Sidenote, I need to clean the shoes obviously – but if you’re not aware you can easily clean sneakers with imitation (or the real thing…) Magic Eraser things! Just google melamine sponges. Or pick’em up at the dollar store.

So, there ya have it. Enjoy your weekend folks.

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Travel story: why you need to visit San Jose

San Jose, located in South Bay just 45 minutes away from San Francisco. A city I called home for our first four years of moving to the USA. Many people visiting the area perhaps don’t realize it, but San Jose has a ton to offer, and single ladies? They don’t call it Man Jose for nothin’!

San Jose is a quick drive away from the experimental playground, the Tech Hub known as Silicon Valley. Where Apple, Google, Facebook, Netflix, eBay, HP — all those companies reside about a 20 minute drive from San Jose. Dude, I saw the home where Steve Jobs grew up! I’m constantly in awe here. Feeling like I’m in a movie, anytime I explore this area. It’s still so surreal to me that I even live here, let alone can explore the area at a moments notice.

A few weeks ago I was invited to attend a FAM trip with 20 other journalists from around the globe, to explore what San Jose has to offer with its tech-hub, wineries, and delicious eats, all thanks to Team San Jose. It was a jam-packed week with a slew of items on our must-see to-do list, which in turn took a while for me to recuperate from! So much (amazing) food, I definitely packed on a few pounds during the 5 day staycation. But, despite the staycation in the city I reside, it’s always nice to come home to comforting surroundings, and your own warm inviting bed. Admittedly those post-vacation blues are real! For real though, I’d love a live-in Michelin Star chef cook me meals every night, or have someone clean up after me (hotel life!). Ha!

I had the pleasure of staying at the lovely Toll House Hotel, located in the elegant and always classy, town of Los Gatos. Psst, if you love coffee you must go to Blvd Coffee in Los Gatos! I found the spot just over 2 years ago, and I’ve been a weekly visitor ever since. I love that they know my order and are preparing it, just as I line-up behind a few folks to pay. Spose you know you’re a regular, when!

So, friends, if you’re planning a trip to Sunny Northern California anytime soon and want some recommendations and a comprehensive guide of what to see/eat/do, then read on as I share my week in San Jose with you.

Wineries
California is beckoned with world-class wineries that isn’t easy to pair down on which to visit. Bare in mind there’s no need to make the trek up to Napa and Sonoma, although both gorgeous locations; we ended up touring two beautiful winery locations in San Jose. You bet I’ll be bringing my Mom to these when she visits!

Testarossa
We had an intimate tour of the winery, given by the owner Rob Jensen, followed by a gorgeous lunch (and table setting!) that happily filled our bellies. The old Novitiate Winery (now known as Testarossa) was originally built in 1888 by the Jesuits from Santa Clara University. I loved touring it simply for the fact of knowing its age, its history and now Rob has transformed it into what it is now – a gorgeous setting for locals and visitors alike.
Location: 300 College Ave A, Los Gatos, CA 95030
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Ridge Vineyards
We made a stop here too during our wine tasting tour. It’s a gorgeous spot and is location right on the San Andres falls. It completely withstood the previous large earthquakes that hit the area in 1989 and 1906. Check out this spot too when you have a chance.
Location: 17100 Montebello Rd, Cupertino, CA 95014
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Santana Row
Santana Row is my go-to place to do some shopping, eating, lounge around, chill out at one of the many coffee shops and peruse the Japanese stationery store, Maido. We ate lunch at Sino, a dim sum location (I’ve never had dim sum before!). Unfortunately a lot of the dim sum had shrimp/other things in it that a pregnant lady can’t have. So I opted for some delicious chicken lettuce wraps.
Location: 377 Santana Row, San Jose, CA 95128
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JapanTown
Japantown San Jose is 1 of the 3 last remaining authentic, historical Japantowns in the USA. I’m quite familiar with the area as a friend used to live right in the heart of it. There’s fantastic restaurants, museums, shops and probably one of my favourite spots in Japantown: Roy’s Station Coffee (which I wrote about 2 years ago!).

San Pedro Square
A perfect meeting spot for lunch, or before a San Jose Sharks NHL Hockey game (which we’ve gone to multiple times, especially when the Canadian team, Ottawa Sentaors played down here!). They have one of the best pizza places I’ve ever had in my life. If you’re a huge pizza fan like I am, visit Pizza Bocca Lupo right in San Pedro Square, I swear you won’t regret one ounce of those bites from that Neapolitan pizza.
Location: 87 N San Pedro St, San Jose, CA 95110
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Lick Observatory
Opened in 1888, the Lick Observatory is an astronomical observatory, owned and operated by the University of California. It’s located right on the summit of Mount Hamilton, in the Diablo Range, and what a drive up the mountain it is. I’ve only personally driven up once (as the driver) and I much prefer to be a passenger as I often fret that I’ll drive the car right off the mountain top due to all the switch-backs and narrow roads, especially at the top. Well worth the view though, and they offer nightly tours and events throughout the year. I know my husband would love to attend one of these, to see that massive telescope in action.
Location: 7281 Mt Hamilton Rd, Mt Hamilton, CA 95140
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San Jose Museum of Art
Originally built as the postal office, turned library now the San Jose Museum of Art, as of 1969. You should tour the exhibitions, and some permanent collections in this gorgeous historic building located in the heart of downtown San Jose.
Location: 110 S Market St, San Jose, CA 95110
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The famous Steve Jobs garage
Visit where Steve Jobs grew up, and view perhaps the most famous garage in the world. We toured his childhood neighbourhood while venturing around all the tech companies in the area. He grew up in a modest sized home, in a regular suburban neighbourhood. His childhood home however, is of course on private property. The Apple garage is clearly visible from the street. But if you’re to take photos – you mustn’t step foot on the property. Apparently his sister now owns the home, but no one lives there.
Location: 2066 Crist Drive, Los Altos, California

Mount Hamilton Grandview Restaurant
A historic mountainside destination for classic American cuisine offering beef, veal & seafood dishes; and what a view it was. It’s where we went on our last night with Team San Jose and the journalists. A farm-to-table restaurant, however the farm they source from is literally across the street so it’s incredibly fresh. The staff was unbelievable and took extra good care of me, serving me fancy-pants mocktails and well-done meats. Undoubtedly one of my favourite moments from this trip was the breathtaking views, but I especially enjoyed the live piano man singing old Sinatra classics as we all ate our dinner at sunset, overlooking the mountain views. It was pure bliss, and I will most certainly be back.
Location: 15005 Mt Hamilton Rd, Mt Hamilton in San Jose, CA 95140
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ADEGA — San Jose’s first Michelin Star Restaurant
On one of the evenings with Team San Jose, I attended the media event at ADEGA, San Jose’s first Michelin Star Restaurant which serves authentic Portuguese cuisine. However this night was a bit different, as it was a Michelin All Star Experience with multiple Portuguese chefs flown in from the USA + Portugal to prepare a 7 course meal with 2 desserts. At first I thought I was a little out of my league, being invited to such an event, however I quickly warmed up as it wasn’t at all stuffy feeling. In fact, I laughed so hard I think I cried. Perhaps it’s because there was another Canadian at my table of 4? Us Canadians b’y, can’t keep us away from one another. 7 courses of Portuguese cuisine; you can say I ventured completely out of my comfort zone to try a couple of new things (pigs ears, lamb, and caviar for instance). The atmosphere in ADEGA is divine — a beautifully decorated Michelin restaurant located in the heart of Alum Rock, in a valley in the Diablo Range foothills on the east side of San Jose. Ya gotta book a meal here, for real.
Location: 1614 Alum Rock Ave, San Jose, CA 95116
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Needless to say, you don’t always need a trip up to the well-known city of San Francisco (although I do love to escape the heat of San Jose from time-to-time and explore SF’s coffee shops and get my fill of the ocean).

If you’ve stuck around reading thus far, I must congratulate you — this is a long one, hey! I want to give a huge thanks to Team San Jose for being an exceptional host, hosting me for the week, along with 20 other journalists from around the world to experience this city. It’s all well worth a visit to say the least, and an experience that formed forever-friendships you betcha I won’t soon forget!

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European vibes at Santana Row’s Hotel Valencia

Hanging-on-BalconyWhether it be opening the french doors to a balcony over looking a courtyard, or the beautiful architecture outside and in. Hotel Valencia is a place I definitely want to spend another few nights at.

Iced-coffee-on-balconyOut of the four hotels Jenna and I stayed at, Hotel Valencia was both our favourite places. If I’m so daring, I would say it was most likely one of the favourite hotels I’ve ever stayed at in my life.

You can have valet park your car for $24 overnight, or you can grab a parking pass from the Valet crew outside, drive your car around the corner and park it in the garage and walk back to the hotel with your belongings, which is clearly what we did.

Hotel-Valencia-BalconyThis was our private balcony overlooking courtyard, beauty views. Quiet rooms, and not because the hotel was empty. The place was happenin’ wiht the grand opening of Cielo, which is a roof top bar. Unfortunately it was drizzling a little bit outside so it got bumped to the inside, to V Bar.

Hotel-Room-at-Valencia

Hotel-Valencia-flowers

patio-Hotel-ValenciaWhile it had both luxurious feeling to it, it wasn’t stuffy feeling. I didn’t feel as if I was in a hotel room at Hotel Valencia, while it looked rich in taste in the room, it still felt like a gorgeous apartment. Perhaps it was the added touches to the room, with the vibrant cushions on the bed, the leather club chair and a full-length mirror, perfect for outfit of the day selfies in my “wallpaper pants” as my husband likes to refer to them as. We were even greeted with some vodka cranberry left in our room — how did they know this was my favourite drink?!

We grabbed quite a nice meal at Citrus, also inside Hotel Valencia.Citrus-menu

Appetizers from the chef, and I also grabbed a lobster salad app – didn’t realize how huge the portion was going to be. It was amazing none-the-less.

Citrus-restaurantJenna ordered the grilled lamb which was served on bucatini pasta, squash and green olive. I opted for another seafood dish and got quick smoked wild salmon, red curry cous cous with pistachio tahini. So good! I want to go back, and lucky for me Santana Row is just a short drive away.

Citrus-dessertWe both decided on the speculoos caramel chocolate tart for dessert. It was espresso cremeux, milk jam, praline cocoa nib tuile, topped with chocolate chai ice cream. So caramely and brownie-like, it was incredible. Jenna said she wanted to re-create it at home for her boyfriend, it was that good.

Hotel-Valencia-patioAfter we came out from supper, I went around the courtyard taking photos of the patio at sunset. I kind of just want to live here. Forever.

The courtyard is a great place to people watch. Wondering if I can come up here without having staying at the hotel and enjoy an afternoon coffee with these types of views. It’s so breathtaking, and relaxing with their waterfall and flowers in bloom.

VBarSince Cielo wasn’t open for us to check out due to the rain, we headed over to V Bar and stayed for a few minutes.

V-Bar-balconyThis place also has a balcony overlooking the Santana Row shopping area!

Valencia-Hotel-Lobby

Hotel-Valencia-lobbyIsn’t the front desk area gorgeous? Hotel Valencia has a few hidden-nooks/half dome shaped rooms for their guests to have on sight meetings in the front lobby. I hadn’t seen anything like that before. I snapped a few photos of it but they didn’t come out as well as they looked in person, so you’re just going to have to trust my opinion on that one ;)

Hotel-Valencia-SR

Balcony-viewsThe next morning we checked out of the hotel, and had our complimentary breakfast (with a really large selection!) back at Citrus restaurant. I think it’s safe to say we both enjoyed ourselves the most here, with the beautiful European vibes Hotel Valencia has, and all the beautiful landscaping, balconies and gorgeous views.

Hotel Valencia
355 Santana Row, San Jose, CA 95128
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Disclaimer: Many thanks to Hotel Valencia for hosting our stay and meal at Citrus! 

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