A once in a lifetime experience.

A couple weeks ago I wandered down to Napa Valley. Yountville to be exact. Toyota gathered a small group of people together to celebrate eco living! This was an amazing trip. A trip I wont forget. I learned, I shared, and I celebrated green living.

The most amazing thing: being around all these other people that cared about recycling and living a green life as much as I did. Yes, I did learn a lot from Toyota, and we drove a couple of amazing vehicles… but, it really comes down to the people. People influence you and you create relationships with them. I shared an amazing 3-day experience with 30ish other people…  and that was my favorite part of the whole thing.

I’m not going to type your eyes off (I’m guessing that’s the best way to say, “Chat your ears off.” but, in bloggy terms…hee) with every single detail of my trip. But, I will share highlights. AND, I’ve made sure to add subtitles to most pictures… that way you may feel like you were there? Maybe if you were drinking a glass of wine and recycling the wine bottle… AND, reading this post at the same time… you may feel like you’re there?

Onto my story… So, we stayed at the Bardessano Hotel in Yountville, Ca. It’s one of only THREE leed platinum certified buildings, in the US. What does that mean? Pretty much: they kick ass at being green (and, Julia Roberts stayed there… awesome). Our first night we had an amazing dinner at Lucy… sort of time to break the ice with a group of people we were about to spend 3 intimate days with (::see grapestomping & bungholes).

// photo notes:  most floor level rooms had outdoor showers attached to the indoor one. It was intense. //

The dinner, at Lucy, was delicious… and, I realized we had a green eco-living pro-skateboarder in our presence! Mr. Bob Burnquist!  Definitely check out his site to see how he’s helping by living a sustainable lifestyle.

I need to admit I’m completely out of shape… but, we started our first official day off with some yoga… with a very green company, Yogitoes. Their yoga mats are AHmazing.

 We explored the cars… of course:

The highlight of the whole trip for me, the grape stomp at Peju. This is when we all got comfortable, and started chatting about bungholes. NO! Not those… (dirty mind), I’m talking about wine bungholes. They call the holes in wine barrels, “Bungholes”. So, you can imagine that was a very popular word during the trip.

The next morning, we woke up bright and early for a little fashion show. One of my new favorite (not even kidding) clothing companies, “Threads for Thought” shared their upcoming lines. There were so many new items coming for the men’s and women’s line that I could definitely blend into my wardrobe. Another plus: they are an organic company. Plus, the founder is very nice. That’s always good in my book.

Our final evening in Napa was spent with Mary Sue Milliken. Yup. Just me and Mary Sue, hanging out… with 30 other people. Hee. We enjoyed a Mary Sue style dinner at the CIA. No, not that. The Culinary Institute of America. That building is AMAZING, and has some fantastic history. Plus, all the food they make get’s eaten. No waste (unless it’s crap, I’m just guessing). The students eat the assignments for all their meals. Since Mary Sue was a Top Chef winner, she challenged us to a guacamole quick fire challenge. Teams got together to make some winning Guac. Ours did not win, but I think it should have. Ha!

Well, that’s about all my trip! Ha! It was an amazing experience I will NEVER forget. The people, and everything. Plus, I really need to give a shout out to the 3 amazing photographers for this event. I didn’t take ANY of these photos. We had 3-live-in photographers for the whole thing. OH, if you’d like a video of the event (where there’s a lovely shot of my butt during yoga) here you go. Here are the guys that captured it all:

// Shawn Parkin // Keith Kipp of AlianceWake.com // Josh Bernard //

So, that was it. Well, not “it”. It was amazing.  Thank you for enjoying the LONGest post ever.

Happy Wednesday!

P.S. I spent most of my time with these lovely bloggy ladies: Leila, Romy, and Caryn.


{If you have a Wordless{ish} Wednesday, please feel free to link it up below. And, feel free to link up to these blogs too… Parenting by DummiesProject AliciaJenni from the BlogBree: his honey and her mommy, and Live and Love Outloud.


  • Pingback: #EcoDriven Adventure at Peju Winery: Grape Stomping and Feet are Gross

  • Leila on said:

    After this experience I will never want to clear bungholes with anyone else ever again. ;P

  • Tish on said:

    Great post! It looks like you had an awesome time!! Love the photos of you stomping in the grapes! what fun!

  • Meghan on said:

    So fun! Peju is one of my favorite vineyards!

  • Nicole Andrews on said:

    Yogitoes are awesome! They are popular with hot yoga because the mats get slippery from all the sweat- and the yogitoes stops it. Cool.

  • cynthia on said:

    What a blast! Wine country is gorgeous and it looks like plenty of fun was had by all. Thanks for hosting. 🙂

  • Erica on said:

    My best friend in the whole world just spent her last two years at the Culinary Institute. I’m so bummed I never got to visit her there.

  • skye on said:

    Wow my company sucks – I don't get trips like that! haha! Really awesome! I have always wanted to go to napa. I live on the east coast, so one day my husband and I hope to fly out there for a week and take a tour. Great post!

  • Diana on said:

    That looks amazing and for everything eco is even better! How can someone become involved in the eco-living program or the Toyota program?

    • The Paper Mama on said:

      Well, the eco-living event was a media event. So, I think it's just being invited? The Toyota TWIN program was through Clever Girls. 🙂

  • Sara on said:

    wow! looks like you had a blast!! so jealous, i love wine! 😉

  • Stephanie on said:

    Oh so wonderful! Napa is just magical. The smell of red wine almost always takes me back there in my imagination… aaahhh. This makes me want to dig out all my (preblogging) honeymoon photos and post them.

  • Kleinworth & Co. on said:

    I sure love Napa. It's a beautiful place. Looks like you were able to experience all it's wonders- how fun!

  • prideinphotos on said:

    Yes I am jealous because I KNOW what a good time you had. We were there last year for almost 10 days and it was SO MUCH FUN!!! I want to go back.

  • Andrea on said:

    Looks like an amazing trip!!

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