Destination: Soledad, CA.

Before landing here in NYC for fashion week, a group of my closest friends and I embarked on a retreat to Soledad - a small community that resides within the Monterey Appalachian of vineyards. We had our eyes on this incredible estate that belonged to the

Chalone Vineyards

- and we were all quite literally blown away by the sheer magnitude of amenities, from a jacuzzi hot tub to a spacious swimming pool that's connected directly to the game room, at this mansion. Plus, we had a whole vineyard as our backyard. A retreat with a view is always a plus. The space was reserved within minutes using



While most retreats, pre-Internet and WIFI, involved a significant amount of downtime, I wasn't the least prepared for what was about to happen. Unbeknownst to me, the estate enforces a strict limit on the amount of data you use through Verizon hotspot - 1GB to be exact. For all 16 of us. With almost no reception (thanks TMobile) and under the whims of a stringent WIFI policy (Jesus take the wheel already), I was coerced to disconnect. And I am so fortunate I did for all the following reasons:

1. You really learn to savor the moments you missed while being on and connected.

- From the gorgeous sunsets to early morning sunrises, every facet of our getaway was thoroughly absorbed and admired. I've never felt more immersed in the natural surroundings and giving in to an innate, human urge to explore.

2. Mutual bonding between friends were more spontaneous and satisfying.

- Before this retreat, I distinctly remember that the majority of gatherings and parties with friends revolved around the phone. There was a dynamic shift the moment we were unwillingly pried away it - what followed were warm, intimate cooking sessions and heart to heart confessions. The ones that dig deeper than what’s already on the surface. Bonding on this level is what makes friendships the more meaningful.

3. The meaning of decompression comes to life.

- not just a mental escape via Tumblr or Pinterest. Sometimes the best way to escape is to engage in what already surrounds you. There is no alternate reality you’d rather be, if contentment with what you have is on the top of your mind. The Chalone Winery may not be a humming, cosmopolitan hotspot - but it certainly was a worthwhile, calming adventure.

4. The more wine, the better.

- As I age, I find that the correlation between more wine and good times grow stronger. And we happened to be in an area that is well-known for the Monterey Appalachian vineyards. The best part about wine tastings is discovering relatively unknown wine cellars and labels. My favorite of the trip was


- home to mindblowing Chardonnays and the most divine Moscato on the planet. It doesn’t get better than doing this with an amazing group of friends.

5. Memories live on your mind and in pictures, too.

- When you’re so attuned to your surroundings and engaged with the people around you, the memories created are often more vivid and impactful. If you must share via

Instagram (which I did very, very sparingly)

there is always #latergram so you won’t miss a beat!