Happy Monday, friends! I’m returning to work today feeling refreshed and relaxed after a wonderful weekend meeting many inspirational women at Fitcation! I drove up to Paso Robles on Thursday with my new friend June from Savannah. We quickly broke the ice and were gabbing like old friends within minutes of meeting. I’m looking forward to keeping in touch with my new travel buddy and seeing her next year in Savannah for FitBloggin’! Here we are being silly bloggers on a lunch stop at Pea Soup Andersen’s, a kitschy place you definitely need to stop at!
We arrived in Paso Robles in the nick of time to check in, get our awesome swag bags, and then head out in a van to downtown Paso Robles. The TravelPaso team had set up some amazing things for us to see and do, including sampling local wine and homemade soda at Pithy Little Wine Company, chowing down on delicious Brown Butter Cookies at the Brown Butter Cookie Company (Salty AND sweet), and then browsing unique knicknacks and goods at the Paso Robles General Store. One of the things I loved about Paso Robles was the friendly, small-town feel. Everybody was so friendly and gracious to have us, which is impressive considering 30 female bloggers can be quite chatty and a little overwhelming with our constant tweeting and picture taking 🙂 . I especially enjoyed meeting two of the owners of the Paso General Store, as they own the shop along with another female friend. Girl power! As someone who’s new to owning her own business, I love chatting with ladies who have been there, done that, and are kickin’ ass and takin’ names. They had some really unique artisanal goods in their shop, and I left with a tin of gourmet ghost pepper salt for a Christmas gift, a hand-poured honey beeswax candle and a metal reusable straw. I could have easily spent a whole paycheck in that store!
After doing some shopping and exploring, we headed to Studios on the Park, an awesome community art space. Once we got there, we kicked off our festivity with a certain drink that would be making a recurring theme during the whole Fitcation…. SIP Certified WINE! Because nothing says “fun” like gal pals and vino, the lovely people at SIP, which stands for sustainability in Practice, helped coordinate many different wineries supplying their grown-up grape juice for our pleasure. What is sustainability in practice? SIP says, “SIP is a sustainability certification for California winegrape growers. The program looks at the farm in its entirety addressing water conservation, energy efficiency, air quality, habitat conservation, business stability and social responsibility. Each applicant is audited by a third party inspector to confirm that they meet the strict eligibility requirements.”
The whole SIP concept is cool on so many levels – not only are you putting the most premium ingredients in your body, but when you buy wine that has the SIP Seal on it, you’re helping to support viticulturists who truly care about the environment. When you look at the beauty that abounds in any wine country, it makes sense that we’d do everything we can to help protect it. Now that I’m educated in SIP, I’m going to make sure all of my wine purchases moving forward are SIP approved. It’s the least I can do to help save our environment while catching a nice little buzz at the same time. CHEERS to that, right?!
In addition to grapey goodness, we had a super yummy and healthy locally sourced meal from FIG Good Foods of Atascadero. One of my favorite dishes they served was a wonderful Indian spiced roasted vegetable medley. It may have been Morroccan, but you ate it with a fig and olive chutney on top and it was GOOOOOD. It also was something I wouldn’t regularly make for myself, so this signaled the start of a vacation beginning. As y’all know, I’m all about the yum-yums, so here’s a snap of me looking tickled pink with such a fancy and tasty meal!
After imbibing in yummy food and wines, it was either back to the hotel or out to a bar. I chose to go back to the hotel, knowing that our early start time the next day would have me yawning if I didn’t get some shut-eye. It was the perfect way to start a fabulous, fun-filled Fitcation. Come back tomorrow to find out what we did on Friday, and what wine tasting has to do with this friendly little beaver!
So now, tell me. Have you ever been to a wine country, and if so, which one?!