For our first gathering, Sonoma County Moms Blog chose to host a small, contributor focused, event to get photos of our writers. Wanting our photo shoot to be somewhere that represented Wine Country to both locals and tourists, we chose VML Winery. We were so excited (and nervous) to get together for the first time as a group for photos and treats because (and it will surprise no mom) many of us didn’t have a single photo of ourselves we liked. Moms are too often buried behind lenses or little legs in photographs so it was nice to get out in the countryside and spend a little time taking care of ourselves.
The Venue: VML Winery
VML surpasses all standards for a photo shoot and tasting. The site has gorgeous gardens, a vista overlooking Dry Creek Road, and a bright and airy tasting room. VML graciously hosted us in their lodge-esque conference room, which was a study in contrast: heavy, leather chairs around a solid dark table, against a backdrop of a wall of windows that opened to a deck overlooking the gardens. On most days, you can enjoy the gardens and listen to local artists playing on the lawn It’s truly special to be so close to home but to feel a million miles away.
The Photographer: Nicole Jackson Photography
When Nicole first expressed interest in taking our head-shots, I was honored to have such a skilled photographer. Nicole is the epitome of professional, while also knowing exactly what to say to help us relax and feel comfortable enough for genuine smiles. And her skill at making us laugh is only surpassed by her ability to make each final image shine through thoughtful editing and behind the scenes design.
The Treats: Cookies by Carina
Carina is a true artist when it comes to decadent desserts and if you aren’t following her on instagram, you should. She provided delightful cookies with our flower, and delicious cupcakes: light and moist angel food with decadent cream cheese frosting and edible glitter (who doesn’t love a little sparkle?!).
The Toast: 2012 Blanc de Noir Sparkling Wine
As stated previously, we are spoiled for riches here, and our contributors know good wine when they taste it. VML’s sparkling wine was dry and effervescent, a flawless companion to the cupcakes. Indeed, the tasting notes describe their sparking as, “[Pairing] perfectly with lunch, brunch, dinner and the stroke of midnight!” (Blanc de Noir) The tasting room had our wine chilled and ready and the glasses set out in the conference room when we arrived.
The Swag: Soap Cauldron
When I first reached out to Soap Cauldron, I will admit, I was hesitant to imagine we were worthy of pairing up with them. You may have seen Soap Cauldron in Oliver’s or Whole Foods and other stores across the nation; based out of The Barlow in Sebastapol, they make an extensive, high-quality line of soaps, scrubs, lotions and bath salts in unique scents, like Santa Rosa Plum that anyone would love. Thankfully, Soap Cauldron was so enthusiastic at our new venture that they absolutely spoiled our writers with individual gift bags of unique and delightful treats.
The Swag: Acre Gift Cards
If you want real coffee, locals will tell you, get it at Acre. Acre Coffee, located in Petaluma, Santa Rosa, and now San Francisco, is a delight for the coffee and tea afficianado’s who also enjoy a beautiful space to appreciate drinks and pastries. Oh, and their foam art is on point.
We all had such a grand time taking a moment out of our busy mom lives to breathe, sip, taste, and smile. We are so thankful for our friends at VML, Cauldron Soap, Cookies by Carina, Acre, and of course Nicole Jackson Photography for sharing their gifts and talents with our writers.