Dalia Ceja

Dalia Ceja is a Latina in love with sharing lifestyle tips and trends focused on fashion, travel, food, drinks and fiestas.

Eat, Drink and Be Thankful

Food & DrinkDalia CejaComment
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Thanksgiving is here and I feel so grateful and blessed to be surrounded by many festive traditions that require lots of eating and drinking throughout the week. Having grown up in a Mexican-American household, my family has always enjoyed a diverse menu integrating traditional American Thanksgiving dishes with authentic Mexican cuisine. 

Funny enough, my least favorite part of the Thanksgiving feast is the turkey. That's right, I said turkey. So sue me. However, when it comes to the sides I simply can't get enough! From the cornbread stuffing to the garlic mash potatoes to the baked Brussels sprouts with bacon and rosemary. Oy vey, I can go on and on! On the other side of the spectrum, some of my favorite authentic Mexican dishes include: chicken pozole, Mole poblano and a cóctel de camarones (shrimp cocktail) that my tia makes. Two completely different cultures, cuisines and traditions combined in one. I love it. 

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This past month we hosted an intimate post-harvest dinner party at our Napa estate. We made birria (braised goat stew), cilantro infused rice, vegetable escabeche (pickled salad) and grilled peaches for dessert. I'm getting hungry just looking at the pictures! Cooking, eating and sharing recipes is a way of life for my family and there is nothing more special than food and wine bringing people together. I'm thankful everyday to be surrounded by such passionate foodies who find peace, relaxation and happiness through the art of cooking and feeding others. As my abuelita always says, "the window to your soul is feeling happiness in your belly." Cheers to that! 

Images via Jon McPherson | www.JonFromNapa.com

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Hello October

Fashion, TravelDalia CejaComment
Franco Sarto Boots, BNCI Vest, J. Crew Flannel, Ray Ban Aviators

Franco Sarto Boots, BNCI Vest, J. Crew Flannel, Ray Ban Aviators

October in Napa is picturesque and magical. The change in season is like a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors displaying burnt orange, red and yellow hues throughout the sweeping vineyards while intoxicating smells of wood burning chimneys linger in every pocket of wine country. It also marks the beginning of the holiday season welcoming a shift to fall fashion trends, boots and layers!

As a kid, one of my family's traditions was to visit Stanley Lane Pumpkin Patch and almost 30 years later, it's still here! It was nostalgic reminiscing of my childhood while strolling through and picking out the perfect pumpkins to decorate our tasting rooms. It's truly the simple joys in life that keep us young, spirited and happy.

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Hello-October

Wine Wednesday: Wine To The People

Food & Drink, Small Business OwnerDalia CejaComment
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This is my first #WineWednesday post and I'm thrilled to share a fun project that my mom and I were a part of a few weeks ago titled, Wine To The People. Sarah Deragon, photographer (and now dear friend), came to our Napa estate and spent a lovely morning in Carneros photographing us in our element and chatting about life in the wine industry and what it means to our own personal identities. Needless to say, it was a pretty special day. Please enjoy some of her beautiful pictures below!

Read the full Wine To The People feature here.

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P.S. Querida Sarah, sending love and gratitude for your sincere kindness, passion in life and for capturing our spirit with your stunning photographs. Abrazos y besos amiga. x

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Su Negocio Small Business Event | Empowerment is Key!

Small Business OwnerDalia CejaComment
Image via Brian Wong for Gastronomique En Vogue Magazine

Image via Brian Wong for Gastronomique En Vogue Magazine

As a Latina entrepreneur and business owner empowerment is KEY!

Calling all of my colleagues, friends and familia in northern California! Please join me tomorrow morning in San Jose at #SuNegocio MassMutal event for Latino entrepreneurs and small business owners. I’m thrilled to be collaborating with MassMutual Financial Group to help get the word out about unlimited tools and resources that are available to you and that will help ensure a bright future for your small business.

As a second generation Mexican-American I watched my parents overcome all odds to go from vineyard workers (campesinos), to vineyard owners, to winery owners within less than 40 years. I represent the next generation and the future of the wine industry. As a small business owner, education, determination, strategy, business planning and financial strategies have been crucial to the success of my family's business. I’m confident that this event will leave you inspired and leverage your networks to help you achieve success and prosperity with your business.

Register TODAY and join me tomorrow morning (August 3rd) from 7:00am to 10:00am at the Silicon Valley Capital Club for an inspiring, motivating network event! Follow along and share your own experiences in the comments section below or on Facebook or Twitter with MassMutual (@MassMutual - #SuNegocio). This post was sponsored by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). All opinions are my own.

When: Wednesday, August 03 2016, 7:00AM - 10:30AM
Location: Silicon Valley Capital Club
50 West San Fernando
San Jose, CA 95113
Cost: Registration and parking is complimentary

See you bright and early tomorrow morning amigos! 

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Thailand Guide Part Two - Chiang Mai

TravelDalia CejaComment
Exploring the Elephant Nature Park with these beauties

Exploring the Elephant Nature Park with these beauties

Chiang Mai, Thailand – also referred to the “Rose of the North” embodies delicate beauty with endless mountains, colorful hill tribes, a playground for seasoned travelers, a paradise for shopaholics and a delicious delight for adventure seekers. Part two of our trip was underway and I couldn’t wait to hit the ground running. Two things were absolutely for certain in our itinerary: visit the Elephant Nature Park and enroll in the Chiang Mai Thai Farm Cooking School.

After two full days in Bangkok, we were ready for a change of scenery of semi relaxation filled with non-stop eating, drinking and exploration. In comparison to the bustling streets of Bangkok, Chiang Mai has a tranquil, mystical and welcoming energy that instantaneously makes you feel at home. We had three full days to explore this ancient city surrounded by history that dates back to the 1200’s. Pretty rad!

Chiang Mai, Day 1 Itinerary:
Agenda: Explore the surrounding ancient temples, get a Thai massage and find the best Thai food

11am - Flight arrives to Chiang Mai - the adventure begins!

11:45am - 4:00pm - Check into hotel & hire taxi driver to explore the temples
Hotel: We stayed at the Jangmuang Boutique House selected for it’s traditional “Lanna Style” architecture located in the Old City and situated in walking distance to Nimmanhaemin Road – the epicenter of artsy and hipster Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai is overflowing with ancient Buddhist Temples (Wats), and within the city and its outskirts, there are over 300 temples that reflect the glory of the ancient Lanna kingdom. Considering our limited time, we selected to explore: Wat Chedi Luang (built around the 1400’s), Wat Phra Singh (best example of Lanna Style architecture and culture) and the Wat Suan Dok (home to the brilliant gold and white Chedis and campus of the Buddhist Monk University). Each Wat showcases intricate carvings, stunning gold Buddhas, painted murals and a colorful display of monks assembled for prayer. I couldn’t get enough!

Beautiful gold and white Chedis at the Wat Suan Dok Temple

Beautiful gold and white Chedis at the Wat Suan Dok Temple

Black stone Buddha figure at the Wat Phra Singh

Black stone Buddha figure at the Wat Phra Singh

Wat Chedi Luang - oldest standing temple built in the 1400s

Wat Chedi Luang - oldest standing temple built in the 1400s

Wat Phra Singh Library

Wat Phra Singh Library

4:00pm - 5:00pm - Take a power break and cool off at your hotel/hostel or neighborhood watering hole for some Chang beer + Thai snacks.

5:15 - 6:30pm - Book a traditional Thai Massage. There are literally hundreds of Thai massage parlors scattered throughout the city walls. Depending on your comfort level, you can choose an air-conditioned parlor or enjoy an outdoor massage on the streets painted with people, bars, restaurants and shops. The most attractive part is the cost. Dirt-cheap friends! A 60-minute massage costs less than $10 US. I highly recommend entertaining a daily massage (we did!).

7:00pm - 9:00pm - Indulge in some delicious Thai grub. Chiang Mai is known for its culinary arts and for all you serious foodies out there you will be in absolute heaven! Through various recommendations, we decided to try Lemongrass Restaurant located off the famous Night Bazaar. It was a hit! We feasted on tasty charred octopus skewers, Pad See Ew noodles and yellow curry with chicken. Amazing first dinner in Chiang Mai!

Chiang Mai, Day 2 Itinerary:                                                                                                                     Agenda: Visit the Elephant Nature Park, find the best Thai food and walk through the Night Bazaar

7:30am - 8:00am - Enjoy a Thai breakfast (hot chicken broth + noodles + fruit + coffee) and wait to get picked up at your hotel/hostel to drive to the Elephant Nature Park.

9:00am - 11:45pm - Arrive to Elephant Nature Park. Dedicate the first part of the morning feeding the rescue elephants. Incredible experience!

Elephant Nature Park is an elephant rescue and rehabilitation center located in the outskirts of Chiang Mai where you can volunteer and visit to help the gentle giants. Before traveling to Asia, I always wanted to ride an elephant not knowing that elephants were being mistreated, beaten, starved and abused. This rehabilitation center rescues elephants that once belonged to circuses, logging camps and other entertainment based companies. There is absolutely NO RIDING of elephants. Period.

Rescue elephants bathing at the Elephant Nature Park

Rescue elephants bathing at the Elephant Nature Park

Largest elephant herd playing in the mud and cooling off. This day was 97 degrees + humidity

Largest elephant herd playing in the mud and cooling off. This day was 97 degrees + humidity

Hanging in the river with 'Happy" the elephant. incredible experience!

Hanging in the river with 'Happy" the elephant. incredible experience!

Baby elephant + family enjoying some fresh fruit

Baby elephant + family enjoying some fresh fruit

12:00pm – 1:30pm – Lunch fit for kings and queens! Enjoy a delicious and healthy Thai buffet including all the classic curries, noodles, soups and sautéed veggies (lunch is incorporated in the cost of the tour).

1:45pm – 5:00pm – Take a long walk throughout the preserve following the gentle giants in their natural habitat. You’ll have a chance to encounter a variety of other animals including buffalos, dogs and cats that were rescued due to similar misfortunes. My favorite part of the day included hiking to the river and giving them a bath! What a privilege it was to feed, walk and help bathe these beauties in a safe and healthy environment. What a dream come true!

7:00pm – 9:30pm – Dinnertime at Cooking Love Restaurant. We discovered Trip Advisor to be an excellent source of information when narrowing down a selection of restaurants for dinner. We were famished and Cooking Love stole the show with its signature and exotic mango infused curries and pineapple-fried rice. What a feast for the eyes and stomach!

10pm - 12am – Explore the Night Bazaar. This fashionista, artisan jewelry and fabric lover couldn’t get enough. It's the best market to buy beautiful Thai clothes, rugs, colorful jewelry, bags, spices and much more! I did the majority of my souvenir and personal shopping here. It stretches until the eye can see and also proved to be an excellent location to people watch. 

Chiang Mai, Day 3 Itinerary:                                                                                                                     Agenda: Attend the Chiang Mai Thai Farm Cooking School and check out a Lady Boy Cabaret Show

7:30am – rise and shine, it’s cooking class time!

8:00am - 9:00am – Enjoy a Thai breakfast and get picked up at your hotel/hostel to drive to the Chiang Mai Thai Farm Cooking School.

For those that know me well, they understand my love affair with Thai cuisine and exotic flavor combinations. My enthusiasm to learn classic Thai dishes had been on my bucket list for years and having the opportunity to learn in Thailand was thrilling.

Chiang Mai Thai Farm Cookbook + Homeade Sticky Mango Rice

Chiang Mai Thai Farm Cookbook + Homeade Sticky Mango Rice

Organic Farms at the Chiang Mai Thai Cooking School

Organic Farms at the Chiang Mai Thai Cooking School

Homemade Pad Thai Noodles. Delicious!

Homemade Pad Thai Noodles. Delicious!

Yellow Curry with Chicken + Sweet Basil Thai Chicken + Chang Beer. Yes, please!

Yellow Curry with Chicken + Sweet Basil Thai Chicken + Chang Beer. Yes, please!

10:00am – 4:00pm – Class in session. In an intimate 10-person class, we started the day by taking a tour of the organic garden where the school grew all of its herbs, limes and certain produce utlilized in most dishes. Our teacher’s name was “Yummy” and it couldn’t be more perfect. Our demonstration kitchen was located al fresco with a cooking station dedicated to each student.

From start to finish we learned the key basics of classic Thai cooking. We had the option to select 5 dishes to prepare (and eat along the way). My menu consisted of: Tom Yam Kung Soup, Chicken Pad Thai, Yellow Curry with Chicken, Fried Chicken with Basil Leaves and Sticky Mango Rice for dessert. Hungry yet?

Since returning home we’ve recreated the magic of Thailand and prepared the same menu we learned at the Thai school for a Mother’s Day Brunch in Napa Valley. Let’s just say our families were impressed and left the brunch with happy tummies and smiles.

5:00 – 6:00pm - Take a power break and cool off at your hotel/hostel or neighborhood watering hole for some Chang beer or refreshing cocktails.

8:00pm – 10:00pm – Watch a LadyBoy Cabaret Show. Night owls have the opportunity to watch the most entertaining show in Chiang Mai! We did and so worth the hype. Located in the Night Bazaar the nightly show features some of Chiang Mai’s prettiest and liveliest lady boys. The performers sing, dance and put on a vibrant show while dressed up in outrageous dresses, full make up and wigs. Yes, please! You might even get a kiss on the cheek. 

Gorgeous (and hot) sunset in Chiang Mai

Gorgeous (and hot) sunset in Chiang Mai

72 hours in Chiang Mai proved to be too short. My heart ached to stay longer but the islands and beaches were calling my name. Next up, Island hopping in Phuket, Koh Phi Phi Island and Railay Beach. Stay tuned for part three of my adventures in Thailand!

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