Sunday, June 30, 2013


I know I'm completely slacking on my trip recap, but it's just going to have to wait while I soak up 8 glorious days of vacation at the beach. I'll be sinking my toes in the sand tonight and I'm not planning on moving out of my beach chair unless it's to take a nap in the hammock!

Hope everyone has a great holiday!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

iPhone Love

I have a coworker that I love working with because he's always just discovered the greatest new iPhone/iPad/whatever apps. We're both kind of nerds like that and we spend half the day talking technology. It always makes me think that there are a million apps out there that are amazing and I just don't know about them! Here are a few of my favorites that I use daily hourly.
Here are all my pretty apps!

Sleep Cycle
The nerd in me really likes this app. You can set a time range that you'd like to wake up and the alarm will gradually sound during this time to wake you up slowly instead of your alarm blaring while you're in the middle of a deep sleep! It then shows you a little graph of your sleep quality. Above is a little screenshot of my night last night after I stayed up WAY TOO LATE watching Friday Night Lights on Netflix. I cried at least 5 times in as many episodes. Oops.

I just found out about this app but I'm loving it. Every day, you log at least three moments that made you "happy" that day. It can be something major like "I BOUGHT A NEW CAR" or something silly like enjoying an afternoon run or a bubble bath. You can also attach pictures to go with your "moment." I like to take the time right before bed to think about some happy moments from my day instead of focusing on something negative and going to be grumpy!

Another game-changing app my coworker told me about! You can HANDWRITE notes on your iPad and the app print and mails it for you in your own handwriting! How freakin' cool is that? Note to all family and friends: you're about to get weekly cards because I just want an excuse to use this app all the time.

Share with me your favorite apps so I can get to downloading!

(Side note: excuse the blog design for the moment - it's a hot mess while I'm getting a re-design by Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Designs!!)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Weekend Update

Thursday and Friday kicked off quite a weekend.

Friday after work, Lauren and I headed to the mountains for the weekend to relax and hang out with my rents. We made a quick stop at the grocery store when we got into town, picked up "Safe Haven" at Redbox, and had a little mexican fiesta on the porch before dinner at Sapphire Mountain Brewing Company.
After sleeping a glorious 9 hours, we headed to the pool early for some sunshine!
My mom made reservations for us at a dinner at Canyon Kitchen with a special tasting/appearance from Davis Family Vineyards.

I mean it when I say it's nearly impossible to compete with the gorgeous view.
And it's not every day that you share dinner at a picnic table with a winemaker.
The food, wine, and ohmygosh the desserts were phenomenal. I'd say it was quite a successful weekend! Does it have to be Monday already??

Sami's Shenanigans

Friday, June 21, 2013

Confidence Boost

Happy Friday pretties!

I'd like to get all serious and reflective for a hot second.

Yesterday may have been one of my favorite days of all time.

I had a breakfast meeting with one of the partners of our firm. This is where she told me I was getting promoted to "Senior" (from the "staff" level) and then booked us massage appointments to celebrate. HAVE I MENTIONED HOW MUCH I LOVE MY JOB??

Then, our meeting got better! She gave me a lot of positive feedback from my reviews from different audits throughout the year ("Clients love you!" "Everyone loves working with you!") and then threw out a huge surprise: they want me to be in charge of recruiting for our Greenville office. ME! I absolutely had no idea this was coming. I have been helping with recruiting since I first started working (attending recruiting events, taking potential new hires to lunch, etc.) but I can't even fathom being in charge of everything! And as if I wasn't already freaking out, she told me, "Keep in mind, the future of our firm relies solely on recruiting." Oh, NBD, NO PRESSURE!

But she did say something that will likely stick with me forever. She told me that my personality is 75% of what I bring to the table. She said you just can't teach people how to come to work with the positive attitude that I seem to have. I wanted to jump up from the table and hug her right then and there. I practically skipped instead of walked for the rest of the day!

As if that wasn't a spectacular morning, my coworkers and I went to Tupelo Honey for lunch. The restaurant just opened on Tuesday and Lauren and I went for dinner on opening night, too! The hostess may or may not have recognized me. Oops! But y'all, it seriously is some of the best food ever.

Then, I got to go bowling with the interns at 2 in the afternoon! Thanks interns, for getting me out of work for the rest of the day!
When I left the bowling alley, my mom called and said my car had made it to the dealership. I quickly emptied out my old car and made the switch. I can't believe I have a new car! I'm so stinkin' excited.

Then I met up with friends at the Drive game for $1 beer night and we had an absolute blast. Sarah kept running around telling everyone that Lauren and I had gotten promoted that day so everyone bought us drinks and kept high-fiving us constantly. I was grinning from ear to ear the entire night.
The sun set on the most perfect day I've had in a long time.

I went to bed with a happy heart.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


It's been awhile since I've written one of these posts, but given the randomness of my week and my jumbled brain, it seems perfect for this Thursday morning!

Reading the CNN headlines and my Twitter feed. Standard early morning activities. Is it just me or does a lot go on in the world while you're asleep?

Watching nothing at the moment. I'm hoping to get into some new TV seasons on Netflix this weekend. Give me recommendations!

Listening to The Great Gatsby soundtrack on Spotify. I think I'm obsessed with Florence Welch.
Working in the office for the rest of the week, thank goodness. But I survived this week running an audit completely by myself with a first-year staff AND an intern! I constantly wondered, "Did I use to ask this many questions?"

Writing this blog post. Duh.

Hoping my year-end review with my boss goes well this morning. If so, it means a promotion and raise for THIS GIRL!

Excited about this:

I've had my Honda Accord for 5 years, and while it was a great run, I missed having an SUV. Because I'm very impatient when I decide I want something, I walked on the lot, drove a CR-V around the block, went to dinner, then called them back and said I had to have it! Weeeeeee!

But it's much less fun buying a brand new car when you don't get to drive it off the lot. #firstworldfit
They're bringing it from another dealer and I'll have it by Friday! More pictures coming soon!!

Thinking that change isn't necessarily a bad thing. With what's been going on in my life lately, "change" should be my middle name.

Wearing a cami and pajama shorts. I'm convinced our A/C hardly works at all during the summer.

Sipping/Eating out of my favorite mug from Scottsdale:
Loving everything! It's almost Friday! I get to go bowling with the interns during work today! I bought a new car! And I'm off to the mountains for the weekend!

Things are looking up!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Napa Valley

I know I promised to pick up my trip recap with San Francisco, but that post is going to be a doozy to write with all the pictures I took, so I decided to skip ahead to our day trip to Napa instead! Go ahead and pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy!

Even though this was my fourth time visiting Northern California, I had never been to Napa Valley (gasp)! I've made up for it though with 3 visits to Sonoma. I will preface this recap by saying that while I loved all the vineyards in Napa that we visited, I still think I prefer Sonoma. I love the cute little restaurants and shops on the square in downtown Sonoma, and the vineyards are smaller and there's a lot more interaction with the staff during the tastings. But if you're ever in the area and have to decide on where to go for a day, you really can't go wrong with either!

My mom, dad, and I headed out of the city in the morning, and since wine tasting at 11 am might seem a little alcoholic early, we did what all normal people would do and stopped for champagne first!

We stopped at Domaine Carneros, and holy cow, this vineyard was gorgeous.
Domaine Carneros is famous for its sparkling wines, but they also had a delicious selection of Pinot Noir. We soaked up the sun on the front porch and enjoyed a cheese plate and multiple glasses of bubbly goodness.

Next stop: Cakebread Cellars
I had heard about Cakebread before, but the wine is always so expensive when I find it on restaurant menus! You have to make a reservation to visit the vineyard for a tasting, but we called the morning of and they didn't have a problem squeezing us in. I really liked the grounds and the tastings are set up at stations throughout the property so you can walk around and sip your wine instead of standing at a bar while people pour you wine. The wines at Cakebread tend to be a little drier (Mom wasn't a fan), but I enjoyed our laid-back tour!

We had to get back to San Francisco since it was getting late in the afternoon, but not before we made a stop at Sterling Vineyards. This stop was my dad's choice, and it has the best views of Napa. Upon arriving, you hop in a tram that takes you up a hill so you have a view of the whole town. The tasting was a bit underwhelming, but the view more than made up for it. 
I think I'd be in serious trouble if I lived within driving distance of views like this. I believe I'd find it hard to ever go to work :)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Weekend Update

We're back to Monday again!

I had quite a busy week last week and never got around to posting the recap of the rest of my trip! I had my first blogger date with Jess on Wednesday and I'd say it was a success (hint: we stayed for 3 hours)! We took our 17 interns to Happy Hour on Thursday, which turned into staying downtown until 1 am. So I'm really just making excuses but I was freakin' exhausted by the time Friday rolled around!

I had promised my bestie Rachel that I'd visit her in Charleston, so I left work early for an afternoon nap and then I was on the road!

I didn't take the million pictures that I typically would - we had a pretty low-key weekend. She just finished her 3rd (!!!!) year of medical school, so we went out with her classmates at The Crafstmen Taphouse Friday night to celebrate. Saturday started with brunch at Three Little Birds and then we spent the rest of the day at the pool. We had an amazing dinner at Leaf and then were home early with a movie, ice cream, and wine!

I headed back Sunday just in time to hit the pool for an hour or so before I met my parents for dinner at Soby's for Father's Day dinner!

Overall, an extremely successful weekend filled with best friends, sun, naps, and family!

Sami's Shenanigans

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is simply beautiful.

The amount of pictures I took is overwhelming, but I'll try to start from the beginning!

My parents flew out to Reno Friday morning and my sister joined them for the weekend. Because I was in Columbia for a wedding, I didn't make it to Reno until Sunday night. Let's just say I had an exhausting travelling day, which involved 6 states (SC, NC, TX, CO, NV, CA), 4 airports (Charlotte, Houston, Denver, Reno), and 4 time zones. But I made it in one piece and that's all that matters!

The sun was setting when I landed and after driving an hour from the airport in Reno to our house in Tahoe City, CA, I'm pretty sure I promptly crashed as soon as my head hit the pillow.

But then I woke up to this view:

We rented a house via VRBO and it could not have been more perfect. We felt like we were in a cabin in the woods, and it's safe to say we all had a hard time driving away from the house with the most amazing view.

The house was extremely modern, with lots of light wood and contemporary furniture.

I highly recommend renting a house if you ever find yourself travelling to Tahoe. I can't imagine any hotel or ski lodges in town provided quite this view!

After breakfast, we bundled up to head to Squaw Valley. It unfortunately began to rain while we made our way to the village, but we managed to make the best of it by tucking into the cute little shops that were open.

I had already scoped out our lunch options in the village, and could not have been happier with our choice: Fireside Pizza

The pizza was amazing and they even served water in Mason jars! They have a sister restaurant, Base Camp Pizza, in South Lake Tahoe near Heavenly Ski Resort, with the same menu.

The Truckee River runs right through town
Because the rain was coming down pretty steadily at this point, we opted for dessert and coffee at Tahoe House Bakery & Gourmet and headed back to the house for afternoon naps. (Fun fact: I can drink caffeine at all hours of the day and fall asleep immediately. It's actually quite annoying that caffeine has no affect on me whatsoever.)

Chocolate-dipped coconut macaron? Don't mind if I do!
Unfortunately with the end of Memorial Day weekend, so was Katie's vacation and she had to head back to the city for work the next day. We followed her to Truckee for dinner at Fifty Fifty Brewing Company.

I'm still dreaming about their Half Moon Bay burger - jalapenos, cream cheese, topped with wildflower honey. Yum.

The clouds were looking quite ominous on our drive back, so Dad and I wanted to hop out and take a few pictures of the lake while the storm was brewing. We found a little lookout at King's Beach, but the wind chill isn't quite what we're used to and we only lasted about 2 minutes outside!

Luckily, we woke up to much better weather on Tuesday morning, so Mom, Dad, and I headed out for a hike.

I think it's safe to say you can't make a trip to Lake Tahoe without stopping at Emerald Bay. The view is simply stunning.

The lookout provides panoramic views of the lake, along with Fannette Island (seen in the first two pictures above). I love how you can still see snow on the mountains around the lake. Although the photos don't do it justice, you can see in the second photo how emerald the lake really was in the bay, and also how blue it is everywhere else.

We drove to the next lookout to hike around Eagle Falls. This short, easy hike wound around the upper falls, and still provided views of the lake.

I just kept repeating over and over again, "I can't believe how blue the water is!" It only makes sense that the city's motto is "Keep Tahoe Blue." Well done, I'd say.

We hiked/climbed back down the rocks and had a little picnic at the base of the falls before heading back to the first lookout. I wanted to get closer to the water and see Vikingsholm Castle.

The hike down was relatively easy; we just knew what a pain it was going to be to climb back up the steep hill on the way back!

The Vikingsholm castle was built by a Scandinavian woman who was also the sole financial backer to Lindbergh's flight across the Atlantic! I'd have to say she couldn't have picked a better view to build a home after coming to America!

We walked a short distance away from the house to the base of Eagle Falls and had to stop for more pictures!

And because I hadn't had quite enough of the lake just yet, I made Dad stop one last time at Inspiration Point for one last panoramic view.

I really just can't get over how gorgeous it was! The snow-covered mountains set the perfect backdrop to rushing waterfalls and the royal blue crystal-clear lake. 

All that hiking had our stomachs growling, so we decided to stop at Sunnyside for happy hour. My parents and Katie went to the restaurant on Sunday for my parents' anniversary dinner (34 years!!) and enjoyed the view, so I made them stop again so I could wander around! I've read you can capture amazing sunsets here, but we were just about 3 hours too early for that!

I think I'd opt for happy hour with this view every single day if I had the choice!

For our last dinner in Tahoe, I made reservations for us at Christy Hill, and holy amazing food, I'm so glad I did! The sunset view was stunning and the food definitely rivaled it.

The menu online is still their Fall 2012 menu, so I can't exactly remember what all we ate, but every last bite was divine. I had a goat cheese and beet ravioli (the middle photo) and was so excited when my plate was hot pink! The dessert was by far the best I've ever had: bourbon-soaked banana pudding with salted caramel ice cream. It was the perfect last dinner in Tahoe!

We had to be out of the house Wednesday morning by 10 am, and I sure hated saying goodbye to that fresh mountain air. But I have a feeling I'll definitely be back to Lake Tahoe soon!